April Verch & Cody Walters

  • Release
  • 03/24/2023
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To listen to April Verch and Cody Walters is to be immersed in tradition. To watch them perform is to be transported. Be it regional Canadian roots, American old-time, 50’s Country, Scandinavian folk music, or something original that sounds as though it’s been around for a century—the one common thread is their love and reverence for the music and traditions that have been passed down to them.

This husband and wife duo are a true partnership of kindred musical spirits, each a world-class musician in their own right. Combining their unique backgrounds from Verch’s native Ottawa Valley and Walters’ heartland roots in Kansas, their music showcases endless creativity and versatility— transitioning effortlessly from traditional Ottawa Valley step dancing and fiddle tunes, to old-time fiddle-banjo duets with tight-knit vocal harmonies, to innovative sandpaper foot percussion, all contrasted against Verch’s sweet soprano voice.

Verch and Walters began playing together in 2007 when Walters joined the April Verch Band as bassist. Initially formed as a pickup band centered around Verch’s own fiddle and dance stylings in 2000, the band grew and blossomed into an established trio of world-class musicians, spanning several musical traditions and backgrounds, yet all united in their mission to share the music they love.

Together they have traveled to four continents, performed in fourteen countries, and played everywhere from tiny pubs and dusty festival workshops all the way to legendary stages such as the Kennedy Center and the Ryman Auditorium. In 2018—fittingly amidst their ever-busy tour schedule—April and Cody were married.

Circumstances, a number of them, not the least of which was the pandemic, led to Verch and Walters exploring the idea of working as a duo. What the two eventually landed on, was a place where all the aforementioned musical styles and sub-genres, could comfortably inhabit the same space.

“When Cody first joined the band I was listening to old time fiddlers at American festivals and loving it, while Cody was learning old time clawhammer banjo on the road, and practicing that in any of his free time. We started playing and working on fiddle and banjo tunes, which really helped my playing in that style. I also received encouragement and mentorship when we were touring in places like Virginia,” added Verch of a scenario, that in hindsight has been wonderfully organic. “Those early days of playing together really helped shape where we’ve ended up years later, blending Canadian old time and American old time and Classic Country music.”

With the release of their debut duo album Passages and Partings (March 2023,) the collection of 16 songs and tunes adds a new tributary to their musical cannon, and one that Verch and Walters feel, is really starting to blossom.

You can hear the joy and sense of satisfaction when Walters reflects on what they have accomplished in creating Passages and Partings.

The multi-instrumentalist and singer feels listeners will hear the focus and the spirit they’ve developed, right from the album opener, an interpretation of “Ain’t Gonna Get No Supper Here Tonight.” It’s a piece which is built on a driving melody that is nothing short of infectious.

“That’s a difficult piece for us to stop playing once we get going, it’s just so much fun. That one nails it for me, and I still hear our source recording from Bob Carlin along with the late Pete Sutherland’s fiddle in my mind. It’s so raw and real,” says Walters.

“Our schedule for recording this album was more spread out than usual because we were recording at home rather than ‘going into the studio.’ There was some late-night recording when traffic had died down or the rain on the roof had finally stopped. That freedom in scheduling effected things in a positive way. We’d get some space from the tunes, listen back, and if necessary be able to take a second shot at some pieces we wanted to approach differently,” recalled Walters.

Verch and Walters aren’t the only duo stirring the pot on Passages and Partings, which also features contributions from a number of their friends and musical peers including Betse & Clarke. Betse Ellis’s fierce fiddle work is heard on “Jawbone,” this particular version inspired by the playing of Missouri’s Gene and Cecil Goforth, while Clarke Wyatt is found on the same track injecting his Norman Blake inspired guitar playing.  Ellis’s empathetic playing is also featured on the double fiddle track “Sojourn,” a tune Ellis co-wrote with Verch.

The Juno award-winning Pharis and Jason Romero brought their significant talents to two songs, “Dear Brother” and “Not To Fall.” The foursome created a stunningly beautiful blend of acoustic sounds and voices on these standout tracks.

In the song writing department, “Not To Fall “is one of two pieces Verch co-wrote with highly respected veteran folk singer-songwriter/activist Si Kahn, the other one being “Up In The Ottawa Valley.”

“Those co-writes were composed during a weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina after Si had invited me to write with him,” says Verch. The superior results are apparent upon first listen.  That song writing session was eye opening and an artistic highlight for Verch as she got a first-hand glimpse into Kahn’s “process and skill.”

Verch also brought two more songs to the project that she co-wrote with the critically acclaimed American songwriter (and previous bandmate) Jon Weisberger. One being the title track “Passages and Partings,” the other being “Dear Brother.”

For Verch & Walters, taking their music to the stage is another process altogether and the trajectory of live performance is certainly fulfilling for both the duo and their audiences.

“We’re more comfortable with this setting with each passing show and we debrief about the live shows all the time. We’re really finding our comfort zone,” Walters feels, before Verch adds,  “you can practice as much as you like, but it’s got to work in front of people, and you don’t know that until you’re performing live and feeling those reactions. It’s such a beautiful experience.”

The virtuoso fiddle player also feels that after having been a bandleader for so many years, it’s really refreshing to be in a duo, “where it’s just April Verch and Cody Walters.”

“It’s a sweet way of being ourselves. We’ve played together for so long, and even though the music is still high energy, I feel like our performances are now a bit more laid back and mature.”

Audience members and music journalists have remarked at their sincerity in sharing stories between tunes. Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, sand paper foot percussion and stunning playing (sometimes combined all at once!) are jaw-dropping. Walters’ melodic banjo stylings, solid rhythm guitar accompaniment and tasteful vocal harmonies are at once understated and brilliant, dueting with Verch’s skills in glorious harmony.

Even now, after more than two decades leading her own band and with 15 albums in her name (two of which were nominated for JUNO Awards), there is nothing that fulfills Verch more than sharing her music with the world. “It’s like the reward for everything else.”

Together, Verch and Walters are exemplary tradition-bearing performers: never forgetting the roots of the music, that connection to the people in the audience or on the dance floor, to the community sparked by a good song.

“It’s about joining together to celebrate everyday life, through music. We’re all in this together.” And so together they press onward: diving deep into musical tradition, bringing people together and forging connections, and sharing their insight and genuine love for the music they play so well.

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Americana/Roots | World Music/Traditional | Country



April Verch Music

April Verch & Cody Walters' Debut Duo Album - Passages and Partings - To Be Released March 24th

It’s not news that April Verch is one of the outstanding fiddle players of her generation, and that this Canadian treasure has created a deep discography to go with her years of touring at a high level throughout North America, Europe, with excursions into China and Australia.

However, it is news that Verch and her Kansas-born husband, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Cody Walters, are adding to, and creating new musical tributaries to Verch’s award-winning and critically acclaimed body of work with their debut duo album, Passages and Partings.

Working on a foundation of old-time tunes culled from a variety of sources, a number of new Verch originals are found on Passages and Partings, two standouts being “John and Carol’s Waltz” and “Firewood.”  Co-writing was also a key component to the makeup of the album. Verch wrote “Sojourn” with fellow fiddler Betse Ellis who also guests on the track, while "Dear Brother” and the title track were co-written with award-winning tunesmith Jon Weisberger. Two more pieces, “Not To Fall” and “Up In The Ottawa Valley” came out of a song-writing session with activist, singer-songwriter Si Kahn. The multiple combinations of musical ingredients heard on Passages and Partings, showcase Verch and Walters instrumental agility, and talents as vocalists.

For their first recorded venture as a duo, Verch and Walters also drew on the classic country of Hank Williams “Mansion On The Hill”, took inspiration from Bob Carlin’s take of “Ain’t Gonna Get No Supper Here Tonight” and put their spin on the tune, and they also turned on the way back machine to land on a few century old tunes, one being “Horse and Buggy-O” from the book of mountain music pioneer Art Stamper.

Much of this music was recorded during the frustrating times of 2020 and 2021, but a silver lining none-the-less appeared, as Verch and her fiddles, and Walters with his banjo, bass and guitar, were able to devote much of their time to arranging, researching, writing and recording, and with the bonus of ample time to fine tune this collection of 16 tracks.

And Verch and Walters aren’t the only duo stirring the pot on Passages and Partings. The Canadian award-winning duo, Pharis and Jason Romero, also lent their considerable skills and empathetic playing to “Dear Brother” and “Not To Fall.” The aforementioned Ellis, a fierce force on the acoustic music scene, also added her fiddle to “Jawbone” while her duet partner, Clarke Wyatt, is found on the same track injecting his Norman Blake inspired guitar playing into the piece.

Passages and Partings is a new tributary for April Verch and Cody Walters, created during a window of time when collaboration and interaction were altered and supposedly stifled. But perseverance, patience, and inspiration win out, as these two musicians continue to blaze their own path, creating a remarkable musical adventure.

Track Listing:

1. Ain’t Gonna Get No Supper Here Tonight
2. Passages and Partings
3. Horse and Buggy-O
4. Dear Brother
5. Jawbone
6. John and Carol’s Waltz
7. Firewood
8. Up In the Ottawa Valley
9. Cauliflower
10. Mansion On the Hill
11. Sojourn
12. Not To Fall
13. Thomas Fraser Memorial Waltz
14. Shingle the Roof
15. Throw Out the Lifeline
16. Hobb Dye


April Verch: fiddle, lead & harmony vocals
Cody Walters: banjo, guitar, bass, lead & harmony vocals
Pharis Romero: guitar & lead vocals on tracks 2 and 12
Jason Romero: banjo on tracks 2 & 12
Betse Ellis: fiddle on tracks 5 & 11
Clarke Wyatt: guitar on track 5


Produced by April Verch & Cody Walters
April Verch & Cody Walters recorded by April Verch - Horse Shoe, North Carolina, Apr-Sep 2022
Pharis & Jason Romero recorded by Pharis Romero - Horsefly, British Columbia, Aug 2022’
Betse & Clarke recorded by Clarke Wyatt  - Kansas City, Missouri, Jun 2022
Mixed by Jim Bryson at Fixed Hinge Recording Stittsville, Ontario, Apr-Nov 2022
Mastered by Randy LeRoy at Tonal Park Takoma Park, Maryland, Dec 2022
Original Artwork & Layout by Nico Humby Edmonton, Alberta, Nov-Dec 2022

Dispatch Details

Preferred Retail Link: Click here
Release Format: Album
Release Type: Digital & Physical
Distributor: Free Dirt Service Co.
Record Label: Slab Town Records
Release Title: Passages and Partings
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