Various Artists

The Mountain Music Project: A Musical Odyssey from Appalachia to Himalaya

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There's an interesting premise here. Follow two Virginia string band musicians, Danny Knicely and Tara Linhardt, as they travel through Nepal exploring the musical connections between the mountain music cultures of the Appalachians and the Himalayas. And maybe there is something about those jagged peaks and deep valleys that brings out certain kinetics and tone in the music, because these tracks sound bright and fresh, although they're way more Appalachia than Nepal. Appalachian string band standards like "Cluck Old Hen," "Little Liza Jane," and "Old Joe Clark" all take on a sort of joyously loping and galloping grace in the versions here. So yeah, mountain music from two different sides of the globe fits together in a kind of modal groove, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Geography to a musician really just means having a place to play, and musicians will always figure out how to get music out of whatever they're given, so that the two musical cultures mesh here isn't a shock. It's what musicians do, mountains or no mountains, and it's done quite nicely here.

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