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Keyfax Software Twiddly Bits Vol. 5

Country & Western MIDI Files By Paul White
Published February 1996

Keyfax Software Twiddly Bits Vol. 5

This time the sun really has got to Julian Colbeck, Keyfax Software supremo and recent emigré to California; Twiddly Bits Vol 5 is entirely dedicated to Country and Western music, which, in my book, is roughly the US equivalent of Morris dancing! Even so, the material is beautifully produced, and could still find uses of all kinds in rock and pop, even if country isn't your bag.

If you've already bought previous Twiddly Bits disks, you'll know that they're chock‑full of virtuoso riffs, fills, endings and rhythms, all played by master musicians on appropriate MIDI controllers, and Volume Five continues firmly in that tradition. Indeed, so good are some of the examples on this disk that it's hard to believe the performances are coming out of a General MIDI module, especially some of the banjo and pedal steel guitar parts. Having said that, I'm sure some of the fiddle solo parts would sound even better played on a good sampler, using appropriate samples.

Even if you're not a country cousin, you'll find the barrelhouse piano parts still sound wonderful, and the simple bass guitar lines can be very compulsive. In all, you get banjo, bass, drums, fiddle, guitar, harmonica, piano and pedal steel parts, with numerous short examples which can be joined together or looped, either to create complete backings or to mix in with your own material. The music is recorded unquantised, and comes over with bags of feel — it's almost like having your own MIDI session players.

Country music isn't all sequins and songs about dead dogs, its influence touches many other forms of American music including folk/rock and west coast, so if you're into recreating backing for those early electric Dylan tracks or just trying to put together something with a west coast flavour, you're sure to find something in Twiddly Bits Volume Five that can help you out. Y'all come back now!