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Heartland: An Appalachian Anthology

44 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

The likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell, and Mark O'Connor can be heard on Heartland, a compilation featuring the best tracks from Sony's ongoing Appalachian-themed series of CDs. Individually, these folk and classical stars have little in common, but when they meet to play these new bluegrass-meets-chamber-music arrangements, the results are pure magic. It's hard to pinpoint these Americana-tinged tunes--they could fit in either Carnegie Hall or a grange hall--but they're all great; this is as much Aaron Copland's version of roots music as it is Bill Monroe's. Whether on fast-and-furious breakdowns such as "Death by Triple Fiddle" or on mellow, almost New Agey instrumentals such as "Sliding Down" (featuring Bela Fleck on the banjo), these musicians excel. Guest vocals by James Taylor and Alison Krauss break up the instrumentals, though instrumental virtuosity is the real highlight of this disc. If you like what you hear on this sampler, check out the Grammy Award-winning Appalachian Journey next. --Jason Verlinde

1. Short Trip Home
2. Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
3. 1B
4. Appalachia Waltz
5. Soldier's Joy
6. Sliding Down
7. BT
8. Butterfly's Day Out
9. College Hornpipe
10. Fancy Stops and Goes
11. Old Tyme
12. Emily's Reel
13. Slumber My Darling
14. Death by Triple Fiddle
15. Amazing Grace
16. Song of the Liberty Bell (folk version)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00005KIZP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,765 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Heroine Librarian on July 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I must admit, when I first saw this CD, I was skeptical. Frankly, Yo-Yo Ma and Joshua Bell are not names that I readily associate with Appalachian music. Fortunately, their imaginations were not so limited as mine, and the result is this perfect collection of music that is at once new and familiar.
When a group of artists like the ones who made this album come together, the results have to be impressive, but this album is absolutely amazing. An anthology pulled from several earlier albums, this is a musical journey through Appalachia. It swings from the delicate vocals of Alison Krauss and James Taylor (on "Slumber, My Darling" and "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier," respectively) to the jubliant exuberance of the charmingly named "Death by Triple Fiddle" (the "fiddles" in question being those of Bell, Sam Bush, and Mike Marshall.) Add Mark O'Connor's haunting fiddling on "Amazing Grace" and "Song of the Liberty Bell" and several wonerful trios by O'Connor, Ma, Edgar Meyer, and you have a CD that defies labels and belongs in every collection.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By William Adair on July 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
"Heartland: An Appalachian Anthology" is something of a "Best of" package gathering melodies from "Uncommon Ritual" (Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, and Mike Marshall), "Midnight on the Water" (Mark O'Connor), "Appalachia Waltz" (Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor), "Appalachian Journey" (Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor again), "Short Trip Home" (Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, Sam Bush, and Mike Marshall), and the soundtrack to "Liberty" (Mark O'Connor). If you're familiar with these CDs, then you know that the musicianship and composition is uniformly excellent and truly innovative.
Most of the melodies included in "Heartland" are upbeat and catchy- the kinds of tunes that feel like they've been around for centuries (indeed a few, like "Johnny has Gone for a Soldier" and "College Hornpipe," have). Those who have the original CDs know that they're also quite eclectic- "Contrapunctus XIII from The Art of the Fugue" on a banjo? You won't find the most experimental tunes here. Neither will you find some of the more reflective pieces, which strike me as musical mood swings. As suggested by the title, the compositions in "Heartland" are aimed at the heart, and not the head. It's a dead-on bulls-eye.
I came to these works from a bluegrass-acoustic music perspective, but have found that even diehard classical aficionadoes (especially fans of chamber music) love them also. I'm always tickled by the thought of Sam Bush and Joshua Bell fiddlin' on the same stage- if that ain't fusion I don't know what is! If you like what you hear, then I strongly suggest that you pick up the originals, and then move on to similar works like "Skip, Hop, and Wobble" (Douglas, Barenberg, and Meyer) or "Telluride Sessions" (Bush, Douglas, Fleck, O'Connor, and Meyer).
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By klavierspiel VINE VOICE on November 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This compilation draws from various Sony albums that feature popular and classical artists collaborating in presenting traditional American music, as opposed to the glitzy stuff mainstream country-western has become. It is thoroughly enjoyable. Joshua Bell and Yo-yo Ma ease right into the general tone of relaxed geniality alongside Mark O'Connor, Edgar Meyer and others, though Bell on the whole seems more comfortable with the traditional idiom. Only on a few of the more repetitive fast numbers is there a bit of a sense of too much musicianship being brought to bear on too slight material. But this is more than compensated for by some of the heartbreakingly beautiful slow tracks, among them Edgar Meyer's hypnotic "Sliding Down" and Mark O'Connor's moving take on the familiar "Amazing Grace," done unaccompanied. As if there weren't enough talent among the instrumentalists James Taylor and Alison Krauss contribute two vocals in their inimitable styles. All in all, "Heartland" is a music-lover's feast.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 2001
Format: Audio CD
My introduction to these musicians (except for Yo-Yo Ma, of course) and to this type of music was through PBS. I had the TV on in the living room one day and was working in the back room, when I had a "soul alert" -- I heard the most amazing music and zoomed to the livingroom to find out what I was listening to. It was one of the selections played in this Heartland Anthology. I ran to and bought a copy. And also checked at the local library online and put Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey on hold. Also, found a video called TOKYO WALTZ (I'm told it shows the early rehearsals for the Appalachia Waltz concerts/CD) to put on hold as well. I was amazed at how much this music speaks to my classical/choral/liturgical music background. Two things: First, I love this CD (listened to it 3 times clear through and back again the day I got it). The parts that I've seen played on PBS (and soon too, I hope, on video, e.g., Tokyo Waltz) have really made a difference too. Keep your eyes open for more televised concerts from this group of musicians. Most recently, I watched a performance of SLIDING DOWN on PBS and only then realized that it was not only a haunting piece, but also an exercise in seeing how seamlessly these guys can change instruments -- Watching Edgar Meyer start on the piano and then move over to the Bass (oh so quietly and carefully with nary a squeaking floorboard) leaves an image that stays in the mind's eye while listening to the CD! Second: I think that my copy of the Heartland CD has some other tune at the number ten spot than what is listed to be there. The "menu" lists Mark O'Connor on solo violin playing FANCY STOPS AND GOES. What I have on my CD is nothing like that, more like banjo and something else. Can anybody who has this CD tell me what it is I'm listening to? Whatever it is, I like it!
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