Ma, Meyer, and, O’Connor – Appalachia Waltz (1996)

Appalachia_WaltzAppalacia Waltz was an album recorded over the course of 3-days between 3 very well respected musicans: Yo-Yo  Ma (cello), Edgar Meyer (bass) and Mark O’Connor (fiddle).  This album will satisfy both the classical enthusiast and back-country folksy Americana lover.  Many speculate the title and theme of the album are inspired by Aaron Copeland’s Appalacian Spring  and the joining of classical music and contemporary Americana. 

My wife and I recently travelled to southwest Maryland and while there decided to travel even further into northwestern West Virginia during peak fall color; this album was a compliment to the ride.  I had played this album during a trip to Colorado as well during a drive though Rocky Mountain National Park and it was just as good.  Clearly if you are looking for a Ken Burn’s documentary soundtrack to go with your drives this is it, trust me. 

The album is not bluegrass or classical music, but more a culmination, dare I say a “fusion” of bluegrass, celtic, classical, and folk styles which inturn creates a very pleasing unique result.  Although Ma, O’Connor, and Meyer are respected artists, none take center stage on this album but rather work together as an ensemble.  Some songs are upbeat and others mellow, the passions required to play music with both fury and ease can be reflected many times over . The track choices for the album are well placed and flow together thus revealing each musicans talent. 

This album was followed up in 2000 with Appalacian Journey.  This album is a nice compliment to Appalachia Waltz and is a bit more improvisational, thus allowing the artists to explore and take this sound in some new directions.  Appalacian Journey offers guest appearances by both  James Taylor and Alison Krauss. 

Appalacia Waltz gets 4 out of 5 stars, great album!

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