INVERNESS: Kyle MacDonald of Foot Cape Road has been nominated for Traditional/Roots Recording of the Year for his first solo album at this year’s Music Nova Scotia awards.
“I’m excited. It was a fun project and it’s nice to share it with people,” said MacDonald.
The album, Kyle MacDonald, features a mixture of traditional Cape Breton fiddle music, as well as newer tunes, mostly by Cape Breton composers. He is accompanied by well-known musician Howie MacDonald on the piano. The album also includes a Gaelic song performed by Emily MacDonald, as well as appearances by Patrick Gillis, Gordie Sampson, brothers Keith and Colin MacDonald, Brittany Rankin, and David Rankin.
The idea for the album came about when MacDonald learned he was the 2016 recipient of the Big Sampie award by the Festival Volunteer Drive’er Association. The volunteer organization provides transportation to artists at the Celtic Colours International Festival and sponsors the Big Sampie award, which provides recording studio time to promising young artists.
“It was in the spring of 2016 that I received the word that I would be making the recording,” MacDonald recalled. “And then I made it over the summer and released it in October of 2016.”
Although this is his first solo recording, MacDonald is no stranger to traditional Scottish music. He began taking lessons from fiddler Dougie MacDonald at the age of six. In his teens, MacDonald took lessons from Marianne Jewell. His brothers, Keith and Colin MacDonald, are also musicians and the siblings have often performed together. In 1999, the three brothers released the album All Fired Up.
MacDonald feels that this upbringing contributed to his strong involvement with music as an adult.
“It starts with the music in my family. There are lots of musicians in my family so it was always around me growing up,” said MacDonald.
When he is not performing, MacDonald is involved in activities promoting Gaelic music and culture. He is an avid learner of the Gaelic language, an interest that began when he was a student at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou and took classes from Margie Beaton. MacDonald also has a background in education and teaches music.
“I feel like music is a fun way to get to meet new people and I think having a music scene is important,” said MacDonald.
It has been a busy year for the performer. This spring, MacDonald was a showcase performer at the East Coast Music Awards. In October, he will be taking the stage with his grandmother, Penny Kennedy, at Celtic Colours. Kennedy will accompany her grandson on the piano at the “John MacDougall’s Tune Book” concert on October 11.
MacDonald will also be heading up a showcase performance at the Nova Scotia Music Week 2017 conference in conjunction with the Music Nova Scotia awards. The show will be at The Nook and Cranny Brew Pub in Truro on Saturday, November 4 at 9:30pm.
For more information on MacDonald’s most recent recording, visit: kylemacdonaldmusic.com. A full listing of nominees for the 2017 Music Nova Scotia awards can be found at: nsmw.ca.