Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Tad Hendrickson

By Tad Hendrickson

on 11.01.11 in Reviews

The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile
A richly rewarding classical-bluegrass collaboration

It may be hard for some to fathom, but the distance between classical music and bluegrass isn’t that far. This is deftly illustrated on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, a richly rewarding classical-bluegrass collaboration between cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolin player Chris Thile, bassist Edgar Meyer and violinist Stuart Duncan. While Ma gained worldwide fame for his classical work, he has sought out a variety of different contexts for his cello, the closest to this one being his two Appalachian albums (both of which also feature Meyer). But the other three are equally open-minded musicians, particularly the progressive bluegrass of Thile’s Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. Written collectively by Thile, Meyer and Duncan, album highlights include the soulful “Less is Moi,” the country-ish “Hill Justice” and the chamber music/Celtic jig-like “Attaboy,” with pop coming to the fore on the vocal tracks “Here and Heaven” and “No One But You.” It all adds up to an effort that lives up dazzling possibilities of its lineup.