The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Anytime you learn that Chris Thile is involved with a new project, you can expect it to be fun-filled and unbounded. Seeing Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan in the lineup suggests an interesting push/pull between the bluegrass, classical and new acoustic genres. And finding the peerless Yo-Yo Ma on the bill takes the virtuosity quotient up an order of magnitude.

That is what we have with The Goat Rodeo Sessions, due in October from Sony Masterworks, their primarily classical imprint for whom both Ma and Meyer record. From what little information is available, it appears that the music on the album is original and highly-improvisational, much of it written collaboratively in rehearsals or in the studio.

For the uninitiated, a “goat rodeo” is a term used to describe a chaotic situation where a multitude of disparate factors are required to converge in great precision… or it all falls apart. It’s applied here in a humorous way to reference these musicians’ attitude of flying without a net in the studio. Of course, it’s a safe bet that nothing goes wrong with these master musicians, as you can see in this pair of promotional videos.

First up, the guys in the studio recording the tune Atta Boy, launching with a poly-rhythmic tour de force before sliding into a Celtic romp, and then back again.

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Followed by a brief interview with the players.

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Look for The Goat Rodeo Sessions on October 25. Pre-orders can be placed now online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • dsmalls

    …I was excited, then I remembered that Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma, for all their grace and exuberance, are profoundly unswinging players who always sound stiff treading into jazz/folk/bluegrass waters. If they stick to Bach, this will be good, but otherwise…

  • Josh

    I bought the collection last Friday and have listened through the CD quite a few times. I agree with dsmalls’ comment above because the last celebrated releases of folk music featuring Edgar Meyer and Yo Yo Ma – Appalachian Waltz, Appalachian Spring, and the live set – seemed to sit more comfortably as an exercise in classical music. There are a few numbers that have a more classic feel to them – particularly on “Where’s My Bow” and “13:8” – but even then, they bear a distinct resonance of Americana. The music bears a a strong resemblance to Aaron Copland’s western compositions. But the vitality of the music is much stronger, owing in large part to the contributions Stuart Duncan and Chris Thile bring to the party. (Aofie O’Donovan’s mark is also quite palpable on the “single” the music collection is touting. Her duets with Chris Thile add a needed bit of soul to the overall collection.)
    It’s not a collection of music people will dance too, but you will tap your toes to it while you’re listening.