Martin Hayes: it's such an unimposing name for one of the greatest fiddle players in any genre, but somehow the plainness fits. Despite his overwhelming mastery of traditional Irish fiddle, Hayes is not one to showboat. He has released just a handful of solo albums in the course of his career, and his playing is best caught live, in the back of an Irish bar, playing to stunned patrons who can barely catch their breath to his music. Hayes takes Irish traditional music, interprets it perfectly, then turns it on its head with lightning-fast runs and surprise descents into classical music or jazz. Born in County Clare, Ireland, Hayes grew up around the music of his father, P. Joe Hayes, leader of the long-running Tulla Ceili Band. Hayes was destined to outshine his father, however; before he was 19, he had won six All-Ireland fiddle championships and was well on his way to becoming an international sensation. His wide-ranging musical tastes have pushed trad Irish music in new directions without ever sacrificing its integrity.