Fiddler plays back to her country roots

  • Canadian fiddler, singer and step-dancer April Verch and her band play a wide range of roots music Friday night at Lebanon's First Congregational Church. (Courtesy photograph) Courtesy photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/15/2019 10:00:32 PM
Modified: 5/15/2019 10:00:24 PM

Don’t let the cover of her new CD fool you: April Verch promises to fiddle, sing and step-dance across a wide range of roots music at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon on Friday night — well beyond the 1950s and 1960s country classics to which she plays homage in Once a Day.

“We don’t ever play just the record,” Verch said of her touring band of bassist Cody Walters and guitarist Alex Rubin during a recent telephone interview. “The way I approach our live show and our recording is totally different. There will be stuff from the album, but not exclusively. We try to balance things.”

For the recording of Once A Day, in Nashville, Verch collaborated with a studio band of country specialists who helped her capture the feel of the kind of music she heard on the radio — chief among them Loretta Lynn, the Louvin Brothers and Connie Smith — while growing up in the Ottawa River Valley of southern Ontario.

Whether in the studio or onstage, Verch also channels the songs and tunes she learned directly from fiddlers and Canadian country singers from her home region “that nobody’s really heard of,” she said. “They taught me a lot of the music I still use today, even if it’s just a technique or a lick.”

In the late 1990s, Verch headed to Boston’s Berklee School of Music, where “my ears were opened so widely.

“It was the first time I was hearing jazz and world music and being able to collaborate with musicians in very different genres,” she said. “It was life-changing. That filters through into my composing and my improvising. It was making me conscious of what I wanted my approach to be.”

On tour, she relies on Walters and Rubin to maintain that approach.

“I’m lucky to have them,” Verch said. “They make me sound good and feel good.”

The April Verch Band plays the First Congregational Church of Lebanon on Friday night at 7:30. To reserve tickets ($8.50 to $18.50) and learn more, drop in to the box office at City Hall, visit or call 603-448-0400.

Verch will conduct a pre-concert workshop on Canadian styles of fiddle-playing at 5 p.m. at the Upper Valley Music Center. The fee is $15.

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