Piper's Crow named "Best Acoustic Performer"! - April 26, 2007
In the "Best of 2007" edition of the City Pages, Piper's Crow garnered the title of "Best Acoustic Performer." They said:
"Although all four members of this phenomenal Celt band have myriad projects going at any particular time, it is in Piper's Crow that they appear to shine most brightly. The group's ensemble play on their eponymous album (issued in early 2006) is often breathtaking, an exotic assortment of bagpipes and other wind instruments conspiring with guitar, fiddle, and Laura MacKenzie's lovely voice. Each Crow can be counted. Dick Hensold is a master piper with an exquisite touch. Violinist Zack Kline plays sprightly lines, sometimes with a jazz inflection. Karen Mueller provides earthy drive on guitar and bouzouki. And MacKenzie, when not singing, enriches the lush melodies on flute, concertina, and more pipes. Together, the acoustic quartet twist around each other with empathetic agility, feeding off one another's ideas. Piper's Crow keep a relatively low profile; they last surfaced at a major venue in January, with a birthday tribute to Robby Burns. But the group's members are all over town, busy elsewhere until the piper crows triumphantly again."
Latest Cedar show in City Pages "A List" - January 23, 2007 By Rick Mason: "A local quartet of dazzling virtuosos, Piper's Crow play a treasure trove of jigs, reels, and hornpipes from the far-flung outposts of the Celts. Their approach is bristling with energy and distinguished by dynamic interplay, especially the undulating, intertwined lines fashioned by Dick Hensold and Laura MacKenzie on various bagpipes and reeds. Zack Kline's fiddle darts in and out, too, while Karen Mueller's guitar and bouzouki add propulsion."
A-List Pick for 1/25/06 Piper's Crow (CD-Release Show) This gig marks the release of the premier album from Piper's Crow, the local quartet that specializes in traditional material (plus sympathetic originals) from the breadth of the Celtic realm, stretching from Scotland and Ireland to Galicia and Cape Breton Island. The band's eponymous CD is a gorgeous collection of rich, haunting melodies, exhilarating jigs and reels played with rippling zeal, and songs featuring Laura MacKenzie's exquisite voice. Much of Piper's Crow's charm is derived from the sparkling interplay between the musicians, especially the exotic bagpipes and assorted wind instruments deftly wielded by MacKenzie and master piper Dick Hensold, while Zack Kline's fiddle weaves devilishly amongst them and Karen Mueller helps drive the entire business on guitar and bouzouki. This is wonderful stuff that's musically provocative while rarely failing to elicit a smile or an urge to bound about the room. -Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages
Traditional and original Celtic music ---- Brilliant !! All four of the players in Piper's Crow are superb musicians in their own right, and what comes through in listening to this CD is that it is definitely a band CD; it is definitely a team effort, and everyone has a chance to shine. The layered approach the band takes in adding instruments to the overall mix is very carefully thought out, as are the harmony lines and musical settings. Between the four of them, the band members can muster well over a dozen different musical instruments, plus vocals, so no one single instrument dominates. There is a nice mix of traditional tunes drawn from Scotland, Northumberland, Cape Breton, and Ireland, and several newer tunes mostly written by band members. The slow air “Mackenzie's Misfortune”, from Dick Hensold is destined to become a classic. It is a gorgeous tune with some unusual progressions, and it stays in the memory a long time after the CD has finished playing. The songs on the CD, “The Kirk o' Birnie Bouzle”,”The Reel of Stumpie”,“Mormond Braes”, and “My Treasure, My Delight, My Love” are all beautifully sung by Laura Mackenzie, with very sympathetic backing from the rest of the band. A couple of the tune sets feature a very sweet-sounding English concertina, an instrument which is becoming popular once again. This is a very satisfying CD to listen to, the tune sets all go well together, and the musicians sound like they are having a lot of fun. And you can't ask for more than that. Peter Dyson, Northumbrian piper - CD Baby (Apr 1, 2006)