Ashley MacIsaac “Pride” Review
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Album Reviews, Canada, Music.
My first encounter with Ashley MacIsaac was with the high tempo punk-fiddle “The Devil in the Closet” off of his 1995 crossover album, Hi, How Are You Today? I went to a classy, sit down concert of the Nova Scotian’s at Calgary’s Jubilee Auditorium…with my mom…and it was rad; from there on out I’ve been a fan. The Celtic fiddle, played with an edge, had me hooked, and MacIsaac sold over 500,000 albums in Canada. He went mainstream, by that, I mean you can find him in the database of songs “suitable for airplay” at my school, in Iowa, but eventually lost it. It all became too much, and his life went a little crazy. If my memory serves me correctly, he purchased Elvis’ pink Cadillac, fell into legal problems with drugs and found far too much negative feedback for highly controversial statements made in live shows, ultimately leaving him a fallen idol. And all this while battling inner demons about his own sexuality.
Pride proves as a wake up, back to the scene, but far from where he began. Where his fame came from a mix of traditional Celtic tunes, pop, electronic and even a hint of punk, his latest offering does so similarly, with the exception of his Celtic-heavy songs. There is a constant shift between rock, which makes up the majority of the album, uptempo-country/folk from “Revolution,” and further presence of bluesy and soft rhythms throughout.
The past seems to linger, as the majority of the songs seem to be aimed at bitter feelings toward those close to him, and other onlookers who watched him struggle to find himself. But I believe that this is the purpose of the album. While he has a tremendous gift with his trademark fiddle, by moving on and releasing an entire album going against that, and aimed at the people who were against him through the process seems to leave MacIsaac with a victorious sense of pride.