Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Just a quick departure...

Music Review:
The Goat Rodeo Sessions
Ma, Meyer, Thile, Duncan

The latest addition to the bouquet of genre-bending projects from the minds of Meyer, Ma et al. is one of the most interesting in quite a while.

'The Appalachian Waltz' project, released in 1996, saw a new group of fans come to the small corner of music-making that can only be described as eclectic. Influences from classical, jazz, bluegrass, rock, celtic and improvisation all meet in a very stylish mash-up.
We have largely to thank Mr. Ma for his endless pursuit for all things Music. His involvement brought Edgar Meyer and Mark O'Connor to a new level of musical celebrity and helped increase the influence both of these equally talented artists had.
For me, this is where I discovered Edgar Meyer. It is a musical debt I cannot repay.
In the last fifteen years there have been copious subsequent projects pulling in a wide range of musical collaborators including Joshua Bell, Bela Fleck, Chris Thile, and saw the formation of another genre-proof ensemble: Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble.

This most recent project brings back the powerful duo of Meyer and Ma and adds the efforts of Chris Thile whom Edgar released an album in 2008 (the very articulately titled "Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile") of Nickel Creek/Punch Brothers fame.
They also add Stuart Duncan on fiddle. Mr. Duncan is one of the most sought-after session fiddlers who has a discography longer than most could consider (and I would consider this the most important addition to the troupe of MeyerMa etc.)

The result of all of this hay-making is a very thoughtful, touching collection of songs that reaches a lot further than some of the projects these musicians have released lately.
They are both accessible and yet poignant and full of richness. Each song uses a different approach to color, texture and character and each has the ability to grab the ear. Perhaps this is thanks to Thile's ear for songwriting, perhaps it is to Ma's unparalleled musicianship, perhaps it is to Meyer's groundbreaking concepts of style, but whatever it is, this is a not-to-be-missed moment of SUM>PARTS.

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