Brad Reid’s boot stomps as his fiddle sounds its Cape Breton heritage. It’s a high-top leather boot he bought touring Russia with Cirque du Soleil, where he played clarinet, sax, and guitar — while skating. Reid thought he’d landed his dream job — good pay, challenging music, travelling the world.
Yet after shows, he searched every town for fiddle sessions for jamming. Despite language, cultural, and stylistic differences, Reid always found a sense of “home” when playing the fiddle — connecting deeply with other musicians, audiences, and his own creativity in ways other instruments didn’t allow. And so Brad Reid decided to tell his own musical stories, built on a foundation of Cape Breton fiddle and a suitcase full of musical influences from across the world.
NEW Scotland is Reid’s latest album, a musical tapas with a foundation of Cape Breton fiddle featuring flavours from across genres and lands — Latin influences with congas, classical and jazz elements, even going into hip hop and more urban territory.
“There's definitely foot-stompin’ Cape Breton excitement,” says Reid. “There are also ambient, goosebump moments and some ‘fiddle meets Dr. Dre’ tunes where you might wanna get the subwoofer goin’ in the Toyota Corolla, rollin’ downtown, shootin’ the drag.” NEW Scotland leads listeners through a broad range of emotional landscapes, but, ultimately, leads to hope.
“Getting that so-called dream job made me realize, actually, it turns out this is not my dream,” says Reid. “And a new dream emerged.”
Gathering some of Nova Scotia’s most revered jazz and Celtic musicians (Tom Roach – Neptune Theatre, Natalie MacMaster; Jamie Gatti – Barra MacNeils; and James MacLean), Reid formed the Brad Reid Quartet to realize his vision.
“Fiddle to me was not my ‘day job’ instrument. It was joyful, sacred, and this new album is where I can really let go and be vulnerable. It's about connecting and having a sense of community where you’re sharing many musical tastes put together because they complement each other, and people can take whatever they like best from it. No one dictates what you should like. Be yourself. That’s what I’m doing onstage.”