Fiddler Patrick McAvinue is one of the most impressive young talents around today. He is a two-time International Bluegrass Music Award (IBMA) winner, in 2017 as Fiddler of the Year, and in 2015 as the Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year. For McAvninue’s new album Perfect Fit, he included an array of musicians he has played with over the years and who have helped form his musical style to provide an almost historical snapshot of who he is as musician, allowing all of his various influences and interests to shine through.
McAvinue currently plays with Dailey & Vincent, as well as with his own band Charm City Junction. Prior to joining Dailey & Vincent he played with Audie Blaylock & Redline, and with Cris Jacobs in Smooth Kentucky. Perfect Fit includes longtime collaborators Jacobs (who McAvinue has been playing with since first meeting as a 10th grader), Scott Vestal, and Audie Blaylock, Charm City Junction bandmates Alex Lacquement and Sean McComiskey, Dailey & Vincent bandmate Shaun Richardson, fellow Baltimore musician Letitia Van Sant, Travelin’ McCoury guitarist Cody Kilby, and bluegrass legend Michael Cleveland. With that much firepower it would be easy to overload the album, but McAvinue’s steady hand, subtle touch, and inventive playing guide the proceedings.
While the album showcases McAvinue’s already well-recognized musical talents, it is “Voice in Your Ear,” the only track on the album which McAvinue takes a lead vocal turn on, that really points to the future for the young musician. The song is powered by a bouncy, cajun accordion line courtesy of Charm City Junction bandmate McComiskey and McAvinue’s jaunty, toe-tapping fiddle. The song, which addresses facing criticism, features a strong lyrical and vocal take from McAvinue that instantly lodges in your head on repeat and leaves you wanting more, and begs to ask the question, “what does the future hold” for McAvinue should he ever decide to make a full album featuring his smooth deliver and engaging singing? “Voice in Your Ear,” is the answer, leaving you envisioning endless new horizons for McAvinue.
Perfect Fit is a pure representation of McAvinue is as a musician. It is an album that, like McAvinue, covers a lot of musical turf in sly, subtle ways. It is a tour through his musical psyche; it features celtic tunes, straight-ahead bluegrass numbers, complex fiddling, and even cover of Radiohead’s “Gagging Order.” Perfect Fit glides from spritely, bouncy lines to foreboding melodies with a virtuosic touch and an emotional feel ideal for a deep glass of whiskey and lazy summer evenings.