The Goat Rodeo Sessions (Music CD) by Ma, Meyer, Duncan, and Thile

May 20, 2012

Performed by:  Yo-yo Ma—cello;  Edgar Meyer—bass, piano, gamba; Stuart Duncan—fiddle; Chris Thile—mandolin, guitar, fiddle & gamba; Aoife O’Donovan & Chris Thile—vocals (tracks 5, 9)

If you like unusual instrumental combinations and intricate musical lines you will like The Goat Rodeo Sessions.   According to the website, a goat rodeo is ”a situation that order cannot be brought to [at] anytime” or “about the most polite term used by aviation people . . .  to describe a scenario that requires about 100 things to go right at once if you intend to walk away from it.” To me the music feels joyous with the instruments blending together in an intricate harmony like few others. Two of the artists only read music, one of the artists doesn’t read music, and one both reads and improvises. If there is a mistake it’s a train wreck. It’s very hard to recover. 

I like to listen to this CD when I’m driving with the windows down and the volume cranked up. To quote critic Alan Light of Rolling Stone magazine, “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.”

Reviewed by Library Staff