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Shifting Sands of Time

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 6, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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These days, everyone wants to be eclectic and the mastermind of some hyphenated style, but very few fusioneers are as fearless as this new all-star acoustic ensemble led by violinist Matt Glaser and featuring Andy Statman (clarinet, mandolin), John McGann (guitar, mandolin), Tony Trischka (banjo), Bruce Barth (piano), Jim Whitney (bass), and Jennifer Kimball (vocals). The recording also includes cameos from Lucy Kaplansky, Tim O'Brien, and others. Hang onto your Stetson as "Man of Constant Sorrow," kicked off by Trischka's banjo and the craggy voice of Ralph Stanley himself, wanders into interludes of rolling jazz piano. Elsewhere, klezmer clarinet melodies rise out of the Appalachian mist, Emily Dickinson poetry soars to late-night jazz, and bluegrass classics are boldly yet gently reharmonized--a series of transformations and explorations with strong spiritual overtones. The Strangers are definitely on a quest, and listeners who suspend their expectations will be rewarded with music that's beautifully played and uniquely transporting. --Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 6, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder / Umgd
  • ASIN: B00005N8VS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,539 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Wayfaring Strangers Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Probably 2001's single most enchanting album -- forget the post-modern baloney of Radiohead's recent techno-drone crap and the new Lucinda Williams disk (which is merely aimless self-indulgence masquerading as spirituality). The Wayfaring Strangers draw from a vast well of American (jazz, bluegrass, old-tyme, folk) and international (klezmer and middle-eastern sounds, mostly) influences to turn standards of the bluegrass repertoire (and some newly-written tunes) BACK into the souful meditations that at heart they are. With such virtuosi as Andy Statman (transcendant! Why doesn't he play like this on HIS albums??), Tony Trischka (who shows the more meditative side of his playing), and leader Matt Glaser, the Wayfaring Strangers have the necessary tools to pull off this audacious experiment in American music. And while yes, many of the songs are slow, they are not dull -- the empathy and interaction are fascinating, more so than most so-called Jazz albums of the day. Stop reading this and buy it already. . .
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Format: Audio CD
This mind blowing fusion of various american music styles is emotionally deep, and just the perfect solace for these difficult times. At first the music might be a little disconcerting if you insist that musical styles remain separated but, give it time, it'll get to you.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Four measures of jazz comping behind Mountain Music Giant, Ralph Stanley is enough to entice you to hear out the rest of the project. Like nothing you'll hear anywhere else, the merging of folk, bluegrass, fusion, Klez, and straight-ahead jazz by this acoustic ensemble retains the identity of each ingredient, without beating the cake batter into tasteless pulp.
Flavorful. Captivating.
Come on folks, we want more!
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Format: Audio CD
True to their name, the Wayfaring Strangers are an only partially fixed group of musicians, with some wandering in and out. Even after reading a Sing Out! article about them I have trouble keeping the line-up straight. Their music is a mixture of bluegrass and traditional (now marketted as "roots") with significant swing and contemporary singer-songwriter elements, among others. This confluence makes for a fresh sound, even on well-worn tunes, yet is broadly accessible. The level of musicianship is quite high on an individual basis, and there's not a bad track on the disc.

The reason I'm only giving an average rating is that the group is not at the level on this CD that they would soon reach. The first time I heard them was in concert in NYC around 2003. They had a relaxed but bouncy rhythm, energy, and on some songs a lot of emotional force. Those qualities can be heard on this disc but they are blander; someone turned down the contrast and color controls a bit. Their follow-up CD, This Train, is more robust.
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Format: Audio CD
I probably shouldn't write a review until I get the CD, which I'm ordering now. I heard "High On A Mountain" on our local community radio station this morning (KRCL, SLC, Utah) and it knocked my socks off... this may very well be the best cover of any song by any band! Not only was the delivery on the vocals excellent, but the fiddle really pulled it together.

Then I saw the lineup... Matt Glaser, Andy Statman, Tony Trishka... it all made sense. I'm a fan of Jazz, Bluegrass, Folk, etc, so the other reviews discussing the mix of styles just intrigued me more. I can't wait to hear the rest!
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Format: Audio CD
Imagine Diana Krall married Bella Fleck, (instead of Elvis), and moved to the mountains of East Tennessee. This collection of, dare I use the cliche "eclectic", bluegrass is what jazz should've been if if hadn't been polluted by the St Louis and Chicago "free-run but no melody" city-fication of the people's music. Not only do you get virtuoso performances on strings, you also get Lucy Kaplansky, Rhonda Vincent, Ry Cavanaugh, and more. This album is like the south... you either get it or you don't. And if you don't... please refrain from embarrassing yourself.
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Format: Audio CD
The "Man of Constant Sorrow" sung by the great Ralph Stanley and featuring an amazing piano solo by Laszlo Gardony is without question the best track on this beautiful CD.

The music is truly inspiring on "Shifting Sands of Time". Hats off to the leader and innovative mind of the band, Matt Glaser! Bravo Wayfaring Strangers!
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