Sure, I’ll go to a Goat Rodeo! That sounds like a wild and crazy and hectic thing. In fact, if you look up the definition of Goat Rodeo, the term refers to an especially chaotic situation. What fun!
Well, as it turns out, not only is a Goat Rodeo not chaotic, there aren’t even any goats! But it was still a wonderful experience.
Last night I had the pleasure to attend my first concert at Bethel Woods Arts Center, in Bethel NY. In fact, if you don’t already know, it’s a beautiful concert facility on the same grounds where the Woodstock Festival was held. Imagining a half million peaceful concert goers on the same property was half the fun of attending the concert.
So what was this musical event?
The Goat Rodeo Sessions refer to a musical quartet. Four musicians, all famous in their own right, who came together in an innovative way to create a new sound. The musicians are Yo Yo Ma, a famous classical cellist; Stuart Duncan, a bluegrass fiddler; Edgar Meyer, a contemporary bassist, and Chris Thile, a mandolinist. They were also joined for several songs by singer and songwriter Aoife O’Donovan.
How was the combination of musicians?
As I sat there listening and watching the group, I realized several things.
First, not only were they all incredibly skilled, but they seemed to LOVE performing. As the big screen panned in on the faces of the performers, Yo Yo Ma could be seen pulling the bow across the strings, with a happy smile on his face, or with his eyes closed in obvious pleasure. Not only was Chris full of spunk as he mandolined away, but he danced along with his music, swaying back and forth in time with the music with an obvious grin plastered on his face. Edgar and Stuart both joined in the fun with their explanations of song titles and meanings. The group obviously loved what they did.
The second thing that was amazing was the way the chaos of four different instruments and music types was brought together in a wonderfully harmonious way. Whether they were playing a soft, slow melody or an incredibly bouncy and energizing song, the notes all played off each other perfectly. It was truly a pleasure to listen to the different instruments, and, to add to the fun, several of the performers also played other instruments, and brought those out as needed.
By the way, I coined a term for the type of music they were playing last night. It’s a bit hard to say, but in my mind, fits perfectly. Fluegrassical! Folk-Bluegrass-Classical. So the Goat Rodeo was a wonderful fluegrassical experience.
And finally, the songs sung with the addition of Aoife O’Donovan were soft and sweet. One of the songs stayed with me in particular. Farewell Angelina, a song originally written by Bob Dylan, was performed in beautiful style. I would love to hear that one again.
Bottom line on the goats
The Goat Rodeo Sessions are continuing, with concerts in OH, MI, CA over the next few weeks. If you have an opportunity to go, and would like to experience fluegrassical music, I would definitely recommend it. It really was an awesome evening.
But I’m sorry to report, there are no goats at the goat rodeo.