There are many ways light can be scattered. Through a glass darkly or a shaggy cloud, under murky water or out on a dusty trail. But when music scatters light, the colors can change with a blue note or green riff. When fiddle phenom Eileen Ivers and her friends bend and scatter the light, they bring the visible spectrum to the dance. And when the light transforms from particles and waves to the hue and tint of heart and soul, these physicists of sound go forth and scatter that light and fight the darkness.
Ivers and her brill band are touring behind the just-released Scatter the Light, her first collection since 2016’s Beyond the Bog Road. The new album veers toward an eclectic, original composition-oriented path compared with the previous roots music highway, which connected many dots between the Irish fiddle tradition and Cajun, bluegrass, Quebec and other flavors of the rich Americana loam.
As with most of her work, there’s no escaping the rootstock of this All-Ireland champ, the turn of the ear and tap of the foot toward the jig and reel, the gentle nod to a spacious airy ambience as she glides bow over string. But Ivers has never been one to stay in lockstep with the tradition, and her adventurousness finds solid purchase on the new album. She and her in-the-pocket bandmates, especially sublime squeezeboxer Buddy Connolly and soulful lead singer/multi-instrumentalist Matt Mancuso, take the new material in a plethora of pleasurable directions.
“This one really came from the heart and maybe it was, in some ways, a reaction to the cerebral nature of the last record,” she explained in an interview. “I let my heart guide me and then, thankfully, I started to see patterns and shapes forming. When I look at the record, I see myself, my thoughts and even my dreams, all connected through the 11 tracks.”