I’ve got this thing for fiddles. My friends and family don’t really understand it — what’s a city gal doing listening to bluegrass and country music? Sure, they’re pretty broad-minded with their music. They listen to rock and pop, classical and jazz, but down-home, folksy, Americana music with fiddles and banjos? Definitely not their cup of tea.
So when the whole hipster thing started up, I was delighted. I can do without all the ironic facial hair and lumberjack plaid, but the hipster penchant for folk music is right up my alley. From Mumford and Sons to The Civil Wars, the twang of the banjo and toe-tapping sounds of the fiddle have gone mainstream.
Recently, I stumbled upon an amazing collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Stuart Duncan (fiddle, banjo, mandolin), Edgar Meyer (bass, piano, gamba), and Chris Thile (mandolin, guitar, gamba). The collaboration is known as “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” and has become one of my favorite albums to date. According to Wikipedia, “The term ‘goat rodeo‘ refers to a chaotic situation where many things have to go right in order for it to work, a reference to the unusual and challenging aspects of blending classical and bluegrass music.”
The result, however, is nothing short of fantastic. It calls to mind the work of earlier classical composers like Aaron Copland, who wove folk-inspired songs of the “common man” into his work (for those of you in the US who remember the “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” campaign, the theme song was taken from Copland’s “Rodeo“).
The song below, the first track off of the Goat Rodeo Sessions album, just plain makes me feel good, and the video brings a smile to my face. There’s nothing like watching four amazing musicians perform together, and look like they’re having a blast doing it.
Has anyone stumbled upon awesome new music lately? Rave and recommend in the comments below!