Music – Goat Rodeo Sessions

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO) is a section devoted to reviews of books, movies and music with a flying theme or contain references to aviation.

Anthem to the joy of flight

Goat Rodeo Sessions

Goat Rodeo Sessions featuring four world-class musicians has songs which will resonate with pilots.

By Paul Jansen

If ever you sought an anthem to the wonder of recreational flying, look no further than to “Attaboy” in the just released “Goat Rodeo Sessions”.

Yes, the “Goat Rodeo Sessions”. Two things made the song extra special: that it was played by the eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians cellist Yo Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Stuart Duncan and bassist Edgar Meyer, and that it came from an album with such an unusual name.

During a video recording of the rehearsal, Thile explained the origin of the name. Quoting the Urban Dictionary, a Web-based dictionary of slang words and phrases, he said: “A Goat Rodeo 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.”

I had not heard the term before, but I liked it.

The songs defy strict classification. They are a mixture of country or bluegrass, classical, and jazz. Listening to the cello riff off the mandolin, the bass boom a backbeat to the fiddle, and the introduction of gamba, guitar and banjo in the hands of these virtuosos in some of the pieces, makes clear why the album is so named: 100 things needed to go right to make it successful. They did.

I could name you several songs that appealed to me for their technical difficulty. But a good piece transcends notations, no matter how complicated. Just like a good flight is more than the engine behaving. At the conclusion, you feel a stirring in the heart, perhaps a little flutter in your stomach, that somehow, nature, man and technology have combined to give you a little view of heaven.

The song “Attaboy” does that for me.

The cello and bass are sonorous, calling to mind the stately mountain range of clouds we sometimes face, building higher and higher, to be appreciated but also respected. Big sounds. Deep sounds. Profundo. Against that comes the fiddle and mandolin. Sweeping, swooping. Between and around the clouds of the cello and bass, respecting the elements but taking their own route, treading lightly but confidently as the best pilots do.

Click here for more on the Goat Rodeo Sessions.

Copyright: Paul Jansen 2011. All rights reserved.

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