American Roots Music Superstars Mix It Up With Uzbek Jam Band; John Carter Cash
|This appeared on Cybergrass.com - March 19, 2009|
Although globalization has become a popular buzzword and topic in the twenty-first century world of business, music remains delineated as influenced by Eastern or Western culture. With the release of Pale Imperfect Diamond, on May 19, 2009, listeners all over the world will get the unique opportunity to enjoy an attuned blend of Eastern and Western musical influences.
Pale Imperfect Diamond is an ambitious collection of roots music standards and original tracks recorded in cultural poles. Co-producer Jack Clift met with John Carter Cash and the idea to marry the musical styles with an album formed; the two producers were committed to unifying American folk ballads and traditional Uzbek instrumentation from the album's inception. Jadoo, an American-Uzbek band Jack Clift co-founded while living in Uzbekistan, recorded Pale Imperfect Diamond's base tracks in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The bones of the album were then taken to Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee where they were masterfully blended and complemented with American roots music instrumentation and vocals. The lustrous cast that assembled at Cash Cabin included The Peasall Sisters, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Marty Stuart and John Cowan. The collective of participants from both countries, including Jack Clift and Cash, became known as Cedar Hill Refugees.
Of Pale Imperfect Diamond's thirteen tracks, seven are roots standards dating back to the twentieth century or earlier. The other five songs were written specifically for the record and include the title track, penned by Jack Clift, Jack Propps and John Carter Cash. "Pale Imperfect Diamond" and the other originals aim to capture the renegade spirit and vitality of both genres. Among the standards, an album standout is the re-imagined "Wildwood Flower," a touchstone of the American folk catalogue made famous by the Carter family. The Cedar Hill Refugees' version features Peasall Sisters vocals and closes with an Eastern jam that lasts over four minutes.
Jack Clift realizes the importance of the Cedar Hill Refugees collaboration to the greater world view. "Globalization is, obviously, not an entirely painless process," Clift explains. "It's just a joy and honor to be a part of something so passionately positive and showing that divergent cultures can not only work together but that the final result actually enhances the richest qualities of each." Jack Clift is also candid about the legacy of Pale Imperfect Diamond. "Certainly this is something that would be a great relief to all if it could be carried into the greater scheme of socio-political interaction," Clift states. "This has not been lost on the participants in these projects."
Intrigued by the music of Uzbekistan, composer and producer Jack Clift began visiting the Central Asian country to learn more about the music though studio work with Jadoo, a group of musicians who improvise using traditional Uzbek music. Clift's first trip took place in 2004 and, almost immediately, he began to identify the similarities between Uzbek music and the music of his youth; he likened it specifically to Appalachian mountain music that stirred his imagination. Rather than think the rhythms and tones a world away from one another, Clift noticed the parallel construction.
Although thousands of miles separated the Cedar Hill Refugees musicians during the recording of Pale Imperfect Diamond, the result is a beautiful testament to the boundless reach and power of music.
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