Top critical review
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Beautiful? Yes. Appalachian? Not where I'm from.
on January 11, 2009
To be sure, this is a beautiful compilation, with rich sounds and familiar tunes. But I'm afraid that it's a bit too "clean" to be anything close to the Appalachian music tradition I'm familiar with. It's sterile, it's perfectly rendered, there's no messy strings and gritty heart. I just am not sure that Joshua Bell and Yo-Yo Ma really "get" the intonations and imperfections of Appalachian music. The cover is deceiving, with its distressed and grungy typography and sepia photo of a person in the hills. This CD has nothin' to do with all that, the style of which you're likely to hear in some bar deep in the hills of Appalachia. To me, THAT is "heartland" music.
This is beautiful, make no mistake, but it's very simply too rehearsed, too pristine, to be an "Appalachian Anthology." It sounds...well, it sounds like a classical violinist playing traditional Appalachian tunes. If that's what you're looking for, then this is your CD. If not, I'd recommend something closer to Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, etc.