Ron Cody | The Cooper Sessions

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Country: Bluegrass Country: Progressive Bluegrass Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The Cooper Sessions

by Ron Cody

Music that walks a fine line of peering over the horizon while remaining routed in tradition which makes for an exciting and pleasing musical experience.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Amanda's Reel
4:02 $0.99
2. The New Five Cents
3:24 $0.99
3. Stompin' Time
2:56 $0.99
4. This Can't Be Love
2:48 $0.99
5. Backstreet
2:52 $0.99
6. Tommy Jarrell's Bonaparte's
5:30 $0.99
7. Golden Eagle Hornpipe
3:52 $0.99
8. Cattle in the Cane
3:27 $0.99
9. Crazy Creek
3:53 $0.99
10. Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine
3:01 $0.99
11. The Cowboy's Life Is a Very Dreary Life / Snake Chapman's Tune
4:27 $0.99
12. Acorn Stomp / High Level Hornpipe
6:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Ron Cody has produced a new record for banjo and fiddle offering a wonderful collection of explorations in acoustic string-band music tied together by the common thread of Jonathan Cooper's exceptional violins. Ron's inventive banjo playing and production comes along with an assemblage of many of the northeast's finest string players. The album features fiddling greats Darol Anger, Matt Glaser, Bruce Molsky, Brittany Haas, Alex Hargreaves and many more, while showcasing a supportive lineup of the highest caliber. The album contains an interesting variety of tunes that take the listener on a musical journey with homage to various American folk music idioms. Ron's banjo playing walks a fine line of peering over the horizon while remaining rooted in tradition which makes for an exciting and pleasing musical experience. Check it out!" -Dominick Leslie

Liner notes from the CD:

Wasn’t too many years ago… a banjo and a fiddle made a band. The classic duet has been celebrated just as long as there have been fiddlers and banjoists together. Banjo master Ron Cody has created an album that explores this deep connection; an album full of grace, mystery, humor, and abandon. When I say album, I think of a collection of vignettes, perhaps a book of photos from a particular time and place. And that’s exactly what this recording is: a snapshot of a time and place in fiddling today, a group portrait. A tightly woven spread of generations of fiddlers, all representing a musical movement whose growth shows no signs of stopping.

Make no mistake; in spite of all the fiddlers a-fiddling here, this is finally a banjo record, and Ron continues as one of the most accomplished and wide-ranging of contemporary banjoists in the Bill Keith mold, able to leap tall genres in a single bound, inhabiting many styles, always with the Cody touch. His versatility enables him to speak to and with each fiddler in their own musical language. His offerings range from hurtling headlong Bluegrass, to stony Hartfordian twang, to swing flavors ranging all along the humor spectrum, replete with piquant harmonic twists.

Ron lives and works in Maine, an especially beautiful region in America’s Northeast which has fostered a thriving string music community. Maine also has a tradition of excellent instrument builders going back to the 1800s. At present, one of the most popular and accomplished of these is Jonathan Cooper, a member of that influential group of luthiers who changed the violin-making world over the course of a few summers at Oberlin College, sharing ideas, lore, and secrets of the trade. Among a group of craftspeople known for introverts and eccentrics, Jon might be the most extroverted violin maker ever. A real polymath, he has done many things besides build violins, and his personal and professional connections span the globe. He freely shares his knowledge and skills and has set many talented builders on their path. His ebullient presence at many of the most important fiddle camps and events of the last 3 decades has inspired him to build instruments which have become the voices of some of the best fiddlers fiddling today.

And those legendary camps and fiddle events, such as Mark O’Connor’s annual events in San Diego and Tennessee, Alasdair Fraser’s camps in California, the Rockygrass and Shasta academies, and Jay Unger’s Ashokan, have empowered a brilliant generation of musicians who create music which feels like home, but lives everywhere. It’s the American-Celtic-Blues-and-Bluegrassy-Jazz style of music that most American musicians fall into when they are playing freely together. In this near-utopian musical republic, the inhabitants share a familial bond powered by music, respecting all styles of music without taking the differences too seriously.

Ron has tapped into this connected group of extremely individual fiddlers who share a questing sound and a love of groove, precision, mystery and nuance. This is expressed beautifully in the very concrete metaphor of all the fiddlers playing fine instruments created by Jonathan Cooper, around whom most of them have spent some of the most intense weeks of their lives. It’s a continent-wide family bonded by music, bonds constantly renewed in a process which brings minds, hearts, and feet together, moment by moment.

Folks with this questing musical spirit and desire for beauty are everywhere. Though Ron Cody didn’t grow up in this fiddle-camp environment, he worked and studied with people that helped spark this music: Bill Keith, Tony Trischka, and others. He is a healer and crucial member of this community and has helped many musicians in many ways. His intellect, discipline and organizational abilities drive him to create coherent themes for his musical projects. the natural affinity of Banjo and Fiddle drove this project just as much the affinity of all these human beings for each other.

The band that supports this conversation is equally excellent and stands out when needed: On guitars: Lincoln Meyers, a tremendously powerful guitarist in the bluegrass mold. Ron’s old friend Frank Varela steps strongly in on jazz guitar. The indescribable Grant Gordy states the non-obvious, and Matt Arcara paints unexpected cascades. On mandolin there are four: the legendary Roland White (his family has been in Maine for generations) along with three brilliant players in their prime; Jesse Brock, Joe K. Walsh, and Dominic Leslie. Wendy Cody continues to further realize her penetrating musicianship in the role of bassist, supporting the proceedings with taste and skill. Perfectly chosen, these artists adjust rapidly to the parade of fiddle soloists and bring out subtle facets of each tune, rewarding repeated listening.

The music on this recording tells an eloquent and beautiful story which cannot be described in words. To listen to the whole CD is to make a journey which many will want to take again and again. May you who had the luck to discover this recording have many chances to re-live the story told here.



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Sleeve notes: which musicians are playing on which tracks? How can I find out? This is the worst aspect of download-only albums.