Goat Rodeo Sessions / Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile

Audio Samples

>Thile, Chris : Attaboy, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Quarter Chicken Dark, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Helping Hand, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Where's My Bow?, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Here and Heaven, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Franz and the Eagle, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Less is Moi, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Hill Justice, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : No One But You, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : 13
>     8, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Goat Rodeo, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin

Album Summary

>Thile, Chris : Attaboy, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Quarter Chicken Dark, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Helping Hand, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Where's My Bow?, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Here and Heaven, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Franz and the Eagle, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Less is Moi, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : Hill Justice, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : No One But You, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
>Thile, Chris : 13
>Thile, Chris : Goat Rodeo, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Yo-Yo Ma, one of the world's most celebrated cellists, returns with a genre-defying recording featuring four great American musicians.

Yo-Yo Ma once again embraces styles and traditions that go beyond Classical Music by bringing together four American string virtuosos and creating a new kind of chamber ensemble. Joining Yo-Yo Ma are bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Chris Thile and fiddler Stuart Duncan.

With strong bluegrass influences in evidence, The Goat Rodeo Sessions is a landmark album project by four of the greatest instrumentalists in music today.

While each musician is a renowned superstar in his own sphere, they have come together now as a unified ensemble on a most remarkable and organic cross-genre project stemming from their friendship, and the title concept. The Goat Rodeo is summed up by Yo-Yo Ma: "In the end, what we're trying to do is simply make music that transcends whatever roots or categories of backgrounds that it starts from - that just exists as something that we're trying to express, through our community of values, as a moment in time creating very special music."

The Goat Rodeo Sessions is an ambitious and groundbreaking project that brings together four string virtuosos: world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile. While each artist is a prominent figure in his own music sphere, they have come together as a unified ensemble on a most remarkable and organic cross-genre project. The music, including two tracks with female vocalist Aoife O'Donovan, feels both new and familiar it's composed and improvised, uptown and down home, funky and pastoral and above all, uniquely American.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Barn, Lenox, Massachusetts (2011-06-12_2011-06-15&2011-).

The last time cellist Yo-Yo Ma teamed with bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolin player Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers fame) for a classical/bluegrass hybrid, the result was the gold-selling Songs of Joy & Peace. Here, Ma, Meyer, and Thile are joined by fiddler Stuart Duncan in a different kind of string quartet. The slang phrase "goat rodeo," according the Urban Dictionary, "is about the most polite term used by aviation people (and others in higher risk situations) to describe a scenario that requires about 100 things to go right at once if you intend to walk away from it." That may be overstating the case for a group of musicians most of whom have worked together and succeeded before, but it also carries a rural connotation that is appropriate for music that is, for the most part, closer to bluegrass than classical. The tunes were written by Duncan, Meyer, and Thile, and Ma's role is largely supportive. After the fast pieces "Attaboy" and "Quarter Chicken Dark," "Helping Hand" is the first slower number, with Thile switching to guitar and Duncan taking over the mandolin for a musical conversation between the two instruments. "Where's My Bow?" is a violin/cello/bass trio with Thile sitting out, and it is one of the few tracks that leans more toward the classical side, boasting a big, dramatic finish. The more exotic "Here and Heaven" finds both Thile and Meyer at times playing the Renaissance instrument the gamba, as Duncan picks up a fretless banjo, all of them backing a vocal duet between Thile and Aoife O'Donovan of Crooked Still. Meyer moves to piano for the slow, thoughtful "Franz and the Eagle," another piece that has more of a classical bent. The rest of the album is in a progressive bluegrass mode, "Less Is Moi" mixing several short themes and allowing room for improvisation, and "13:8" taken quickly, with Duncan and Thile interacting briskly. It doesn't really seem as if 100 things had to go right for The Goat Rodeo Sessions to work; it only required four or five talented musicians to play and sing in sympathetic unity, and that they did, making this a satisfying experience for more adventurous classical and bluegrass fans. ~ William Ruhlmann



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Works Details

>Thile, Chris : Attaboy, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello); Chris Thile (Mandolin)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 5 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Quarter Chicken Dark, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Mandolin); Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 4 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Helping Hand, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Guitar); Stuart Duncan (Mandolin); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 4 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Where's My Bow?, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Fiddle); Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 5 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Here and Heaven, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Mandolin); Aoife O'Donovan (Voice); Stuart Duncan (Fretless Banjo); Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Aoife O'Donovan (1982 - ), Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 3 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Franz and the Eagle, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Mandolin); Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello); Edgar Meyer (Piano)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 6 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Less is Moi, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Mandolin); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 7 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Hill Justice, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello); Chris Thile (Mandolin)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 4 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : No One But You, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Mandolin); Aoife O'Donovan (Voice); Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello); Edgar Meyer (Piano)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 3 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : 13 :: 8, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Mandolin); Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 5 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Thile, Chris : Goat Rodeo, for bass, cello, fiddle & mandolin
  • Performers: Chris Thile (Mandolin); Stuart Duncan (Fiddle); Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with Stuart Duncan (1964 - ), Edgar Meyer (1961 - ).
  • Running Time: 4 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music