Label: Not On Label - none • Format: 11x, File FLAC, Album • Genre: Electronic • Style: Dub, IDM, Downtempo
Welcome To AlbumLinerNotes. Celebrating Our Shared Musical Heritage. Goat Rodeo Sessions. Where's My Bow? The quartet of musicians is set up in tight formation, not much farther apart than if they were sitting around a kitchen table.
The music that's emanating from the four sets of strings feels both new and familiar—it's composed and improvised, uptown and down home, funky and pastoral.
It is uniquely American. Though these players are among the finest in the world, the songs they are recording are challenging for them to execute.
Multiple conversations break out between takes, all frequently interrupted by laughter, trying to work out how best to navigate a tricky passage. From the outset, the very idea of bringing these musicians together required some innovative thinking. Yo-Yo Ma is simply one of the pre-eminent musicians alive; the seventeen-time Grammy Award winner has been honored with the National Medal of Arts Lowburn - All Life Long the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But he has also sought to find new contexts for his cello, and has played alongside musicians from Bobby McFerrin to Astor Piazzolla to the honking Muppets of Sesame Street. When Ma approached Meyer and Thile with the idea of making an Cloudville - Subroute Roots - Alpha Rodeo (File, they suggested adding one more voice—fiddler Stuart Duncan, a top-call session musician who has recorded with virtually every superstar in Nashville, from Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire to Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw.
Ma was suitably impressed. The jokes, dirty and otherwise, stop only when the music starts. So the first hurdle in the Goat Rodeo was cleared; these guys could work together. Now what were they going to play? It was determined that the material for the album would all be original, and Album) Thile, Meyer, and Duncan set off to write some songs.
Despite the disparate backgrounds involved, they maintain that the composing directive was clear. Yo-Yo doesn't improvise, and Cloudville - Subroute Roots - Alpha Rodeo (File doesn't Album) read music. So it was kind of easy given the boundaries we had—while also trying to make it sound like it didn't have any boundaries at all. On "Where's My Bow? Sublime melody spins into the muscular swing of the finest bluegrass. Arrangements swell and recede, jaw-dropping solos Cloudville - Subroute Roots - Alpha Rodeo (File upward, long lines create loose, dreamy moods.
The songs are dense—Duncan described one part that Thile wrote for him as "a snowstorm of information"—but never cluttered. It may not be easy in terms of logistics or sensibility to harness these Prodigal Man - The Amboy Dukes - Migration for a session, but in the end, no one else could have made these recordings.
Yo-Yo Ma may have initiated this scheme, but he's actually the wild card here, and throughout the sessions, he's the one asking questions non-stop, trying to comprehend the bluegrass tradition and vocabulary that the other three share. Yet he insists that, despite the album's title, the challenges were really no different than any other music he makes.
What we're trying to do in the end is to simply make music, and to have the music transcend whatever roots or categories it starts from. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of Vibe and Spin magazines.
Special thanks to the Taylor Family: James, Kim, Henry and Rufus for welcoming us to your amazing studio and your home. To Michael Roller and everyone at Samel's Catering for feasts fit for kings and goats! To Richard Gordon and the crew for capturing a true goat rodeo in action. BMI except as noted. Logo is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation.
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