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Cedar Hill Refugees - Pale Imperfect Diamond
Cedar Hill Refugees - Pale Imperfect Diamond
CD Review by Dave SanSoucie on 7/8/2009   

Imagine my surprise when I put Pale Imperfect Diamond in my CD player expecting a roots country/Bluegrass Record , based solely on the Line up listed on the inner sleeve. John Carter Cash, Ralph Stanley, Marty Stuart, Randy Scruggs, Ron Mcoury, John Cowan, Dennis Crouch, Harry Stinson, and many more. Well, my eyes played tricks on me. The many more included “odd” names that I skipped right over …. And lo and behold I come to realize (after listening to the record and a bit of research) that the unknown (to me) names are musicians who play UZBEK music.

I consider myself a well rounded musician with an open mind, but I was taken by surprise by the latest fusion offering by this amazing line up of musicians. Uzbek? What is Uzbek music?

Uzbekistan is a central Asian country that was invaded by Arab tribes eons ago, and in the ensuing years has produced a music that reflects both Asian and Arab influences. How does the crème de la crème of American Bluegrass and Roots country end up on an album of American-Uzbek fusion music? Through the the work of co-producers John Clift (of the American-Uzbek band “ Jadoo”) and John Carter Cash ( the name says it all).

Many of the basic tracks for the project were recorded in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Those tracks were taken to Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee where the blend took place with the best of American traditional musicians.

Pale Imperfect Diamond presents seven tracks that are roots standards dating back to the twentieth Century or earlier. The remaining five songs of the album were written for the record by Clift, Cash and Jack Propps.

It is all about East meets West and creates something neither side could accomplish alone. Great attention is given to the Celtic aspect of American roots music, and therein lies the connection to the music of Uzbekistan. Technically it is the Pentatonic scale that is the vibe that joins all Western Music, and much of Near and Far Eastern Music. Groove wise? Well… it is the groove. Danceable rhythms that reflect the fire of the desert, the mystery of Eastern culture and good old American clogging.

Highly recommended for fans of jam bands, eastern -western fusion projects (I.e. works of Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, David Lindley and others). Bluegrass fans and Folk purists should probably listen before purchasing. That said, this album contains perhaps the most beautiful recording of the good Doctor Stanley that I ever have heard.

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