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Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet

Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Price: $12.76 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 2010 $7.99  
Audio CD, 2008 $12.76  

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Frequently Bought Together

Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet + City of Refuge + Song of the Traveling Daughter
Price for all three: $41.39

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  • City of Refuge $13.70
  • Song of the Traveling Daughter $14.93

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nettwerk Records
  • ASIN: B00175G7DQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,725 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Overture
2. A Fuller Wine
3. Strange Things
4. Great Big Wall in China
5. Taiyang Chulai
6. Oh Me, Oh My
7. Captain
8. A Kazakh Melody
9. Banjo Pickin' Girl
10. Kangding Qingge/Old-Timey Dance Party
11. Sugar & Pie
12. It Ain't Easy
13. Journey Home

Editorial Reviews

Digipak of self titled album by Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet. Abigail Washburn has created a new sound that crosses global and cultural lines, personified in the raw, transcendental music of the Sparrow Quartet. The all star collaboration features banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, acclaimed cellist Ben Sollee and Grammy nominated fiddler Casey Driessen. The artistry of Abigail is her love of both American roots musics and the Chinese culture she has been exploring for over a decade. Produced by Bela Fleck, the music was composed and arranged by the foursome. The unprecedented mixture of two banjos (clawhammer and three finger style), cello and fiddle unfolds like an otherworldly chamber suite.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic June 2, 2008
By John
Format:Audio CD
Every once in a while, a bluegrass album comes out that transcends the genre. Lots of people try, but it is hard to create truly fresh "newgrass". Coincidentally, Bela Fleck seems to be on most of these elusive albums! Maybe it's a sign. This CD follows in the footsteps of the Telluride Sessions, Appalachian Waltz and Appalachian Journey, and also Uncommon Ritual. But instead of a bluegrass and classical blend, this album takes a more traditional americana bluegrass feel and mixes it with a hint of MMW-like jazz song structures and even Chinese folk songs. This is fitting since this group played a lot in China, and Abigail has spent a long time studying Chinese folk tunes. The sound quality is awesome, with each instrument sparkling. Ben Sollee on cello and Casy Driessen on fiddle are also incredible; check out their solo albums. The true test of this formula is: Well all this sounds good but is this new mix of styles listenable and truly good music? The answer is a resounding YES.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something Completely Different July 26, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Centuries ago in many a Silk Road caravansary, traveling musicians from various lands learned songs and instrument design from each other, and they also jammed. This album is the contemporary equivalent of those exchanges, for traditional bluegrass banjo and fiddle and European classical cello instruments, and Western avant-garde art music and old-time lyrics, are cast with Chinese language and East Asian tunes. Indeed, in one track, the tremolo of Abigail Washburn's double-stringed banjo mimics a Chinese pipa. The album varies on almost every song, taking us on a strange sonic journey from Kazakhstan to Appalachia, from a Central European salon to a New York experimental music club, yet not being anywhere because this is a peculiar fusion. It is entirely within the character of the wide-ranging Bela Fleck to produce, perform in, and help engineer this highly inventive exploration. The team was involved in the earlier, more coherent, and thereby better, album of Washburn, Song of the Traveling Daughter. In fact, that album was the seed for this elaboration. Yes, it is a pioneering blend of bluegrass sensitivity and timbre with occasional Asian melody, but it is also an echo of the past on the Silk Road. I like this album and hope that there will be even further developments.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet July 17, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I heard this group for the first time at the Vancouver Island Musicfest and was blown away. I've been listening to this CD over and over again since. Imagine an otherworldly blend of bluegrass, Chinese traditional, and 20th-century classical symphonic and imagine it done artfully, tastefully, beautifully. This kind of music experience lifts you out of the ordinary into another realm. Absolutely superb, surprising, refreshing, original. With this kind of talent out there doing this sort of thing, why would anyone buy the mass-produced pablum that seems to have gained dominance in the commercial music world? I am in love!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep Your Eyes and Ears on THIS Sparrow! July 17, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When this much talent comes together, it's a time to give thanks, sit back to listen, and be blessed! Words can't begin to describe the dazzling assortment of sounds, melodies, harmonies, vocals, EVERYTHING that comes forth in this premier, so I'm not even going to try. Let me simply say that Bela Fleck may keep his genius crown; Abby Washburn can do anything she wants; Ben Sollee takes his cello to places one would never think a cello COULD go, adding color and depth the way he does to Abby's solo album; and Casey Driessen's fiddle brings it all to life. There are many surprises here--BUY AND ENJOY!! I can't wait for their next release.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Quartet February 10, 2009
Format:Audio CD
My son and I saw the Sparrow Quartet live in Charlottesville, VA. This was one of the best live performances I've hear seen/heard. The four musicians complement one another beautifully, yet each is strong on her/his own. See them in a small venue if you can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
My daughter spent some time working on a boat on the Yangzte River just before SARS broke out. She loved the people and the area and I thought this would be another way to relive the experience for her. She was very pleased with her totally unexpected birthday gift. I read a positive review of this new music in Newsweek which prompted me to listen to the songs on YouTube first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet August 17, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Fabulous creation! Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck are two of my favorite artists, so when I heard they had recorded together, naturally I hurried to Amazon to listen to some tracks. Each track is unique--her voice is splendid--musical accompaniment virtuoso, of course--some pieces are haunting, some jolly, and the Chinese influence gives an exotic yet clean flavor to the tracks demonstrating it. This CD fits no category--just a glorious experience.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind. Blown. April 27, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Sparrow Quartet is four of the world's greatest and innovative banjo, fiddle, and cello players laying out their talents and styles and stirring it all in a pot of the most hella-awesome gumbo you've ever tasted.

Abigail's voice will make you fall in love with her half-way through the first song, but that's OK because you'll realize that she's too perfect for you and any other normal person, and so it's just not meant to be. After that you start enjoying her singing and claw-hammer banjo the way you enjoy seeing an endangered bird fly over your head during a hike through a remote canyon. You've just witnessed something wonderful, and you won't be the same again. And, dude, don't rehearse your "I love your singing" bit too much in case you meet her after a show. She's heard it. And buy a CD. There's no such thing as a bad Abigail Washburn CD.

Meanwhile, Bela is tying his banjo into knots like some circus clown making balloon animals. Except that if he were actually a clown, and making actual balloon animals, he would be taking a foot-long balloon and crafting it into the detailed skeleton of a T-Rex that would come alive and eat everybody. The precision, clarity, and emotion Bela can squeeze out of a musical instrument is exactly the kind of phenomenon that causes people to buy a banjo and then give it up after a few lessons, realizing that the person who inspired them to take it up in the first place is like some space alien from Banjo Planet, the talent of whom they cannot even hope to approach without a spaceship.

Casey is not actually human. He is a robot, built during the Cold War by a secret arm of the United States Department of Defense. The U.S.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A little "too" creative in places
I have another Abigail Washburn CD and I played that one until the grooves wore out (metaphorically, of course). But this one I could never get into. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazing Grace
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific album
I heard a review of this artist on NPR and was drawn to her "asian bluegrass" style. I've really enjoyed having it in the mixer when I use my stereo. Read more
Published 11 months ago by COG
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to her usual standards
Abigail Washburn is a superb musician and has a great voice, but most of the work on this CD is just simply weird. Read more
Published on January 30, 2010 by Carl A. Mcneece
1.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing
Perhaps I should have researched it better before buying, but when I saw the names Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck I figured how can I go wrong? Read more
Published on July 27, 2009 by Wayne
5.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic
I started listening to Abigail Washburn when I saw her as an opening act at the Old Towne School of Folk Music in Chicago. I have been hooked ever since. Read more
Published on May 30, 2009 by Mammo Queen
5.0 out of 5 stars Sincere
This one of the most sincere albums I've ever heard. Abby's voice is truly moving and personal. The musicianship is second to none. Read more
Published on September 25, 2008 by uendichan
1.0 out of 5 stars I expected better
I was interested because Bela Fleck was in the group. There was not enough of Bela, and far too much of Abigail whose voice and songs totally turned me off.
Published on August 18, 2008 by Frederick Bott
3.0 out of 5 stars Bela Fleck's involved. How can it be bad?
The first cut I heard from the CD (and why I bought it) was A Fuller Wine. I recognized Bela Fleck's banjo immediately, but the progressions hooked me. Read more
Published on August 8, 2008 by Brian Nadata
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