The first time I heard Yo-Yo Ma was on the episode of West Wing when his White House performance triggered Josh Lyman’s PTSD. Obviously, this was a horrible first impression. It tainted my opinion of the cellist for nearly a decade. Recently, though, I’ve become rather fond of Mr. Ma. That fondness only multiplied when his new album, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, found its way into my hands. A “goat rodeo” is a situation where a thousand things must come together and go perfectly in order for it to work. The album, a collection of Americana/Bluegrass works, must have felt like exactly that when Ma sat down and began collaborating with bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile (Punch Brothers, Nickle Creek), and fiddler Stuart Duncan. The album contains only one song with vocals, sung by vocalist Aoife O’Donovan (who sounds a lot like Alison Krauss).
The Goat Rodeo Sessions is available for purchase now, but on Jan. 31, music fans across the country will have the chance to see it performed live. The group of musicians, all masters of their preferred instrument, will play a concert at Boston’s House of Blues which will be broadcast to movie theaters across the United States, including two in the Cincinnati area.
While it may not have the exact feeling as attending their House of Blues performance, it should still be worthy of your cost of admission. Ma, Meyer, Thile and Duncan all display more than just mastery when they perform — they also show passion. Meyer not only plays the bass, he is intimate with it. Meanwhile, Thile continues to find new ways to the play a mandolin (plus, he’s pretty cute). If you’re in the “pics or it didn’t happen” camp, there are videos at the bottom.
Jan. 31 (7:30 p.m.) Local Showings (tickets available at the box offices or here):
AMC at Newport on the Levee (Newport)
RGL at Deerfield Town Center (Mason)
Put in your zip code and find out how you can receive free tickets or a free iTunes download with your ticket purchase.
Edgar Meyer and his bass, 1988. Check out that intense expression!
Chris Thile. BAMF.