Label: Rounder
Format: 33RPM,
Size: 12"


Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn Echo In The Valley 180g LP

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn

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Highly Anticipated Follow-Up From 2016 Best Folk Grammy Award-Winners On 180g Vinyl LP!

With one eye on using the banjo to showcase America's rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn's second album Echo in the Valley is simultaneously familiar and wildly innovative.

"Some of the most interesting things in the world come together in strange and unique ways and show our diversity," reflects Béla, a fifteen-time Grammy award winner who is often considered the world's premier banjo player. "The banjo is just one of those things. It's a great example of how the world can combine things and create surprising hybrids," a reference to the ancestral African roots of the banjo combining with Scotch-Irish music in Appalachia.

Echo in the Valley is the follow up to Béla and Abigail's acclaimed, self-titled debut that earned the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. This time around, the mission was to take their double banjo combination of three finger and clawhammer styles "to the next level and find things to do together that we had not done before," says Béla. "We’re expressing different emotions through past techniques and going to deeper places." The results are fascinating, especially considering their strict rules for recording: all sounds must be created by the two of them, the only instruments used are banjos (they have seven between them, ranging from a ukulele to an upright bass banjo), and they must be able to perform every recorded song live.

Traditional tunes that are reimagined on the record include an especially soulful and bluesy rendition of "Blue Ridge Mountains" and one of the most indelible songs on the record, "Come All You Coal Miners," connects past with present when passing along the point of view of coal-miner advocate Sarah Ogan Gunning whose passages remain poignant and powerful today. "This song came from a very emotional, mother-driven, daughter-driven, wife-driven place, and there are not many songs throughout history from that perspective, so I am incredibly moved by her," Washburn explains.

Fleck and Washburn met at a square dance and began playing music together a dozen years ago, beginning with the Sparrow Quartet. They married shortly thereafter and became parents to a cute little tot. They've been touring the globe as a duo for years, almost nonstop but for each other's performances with various other musical iterations: Béla with the likes of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Chick Corea and Chris Thile, among many others, and Abigail with Wu Fei (a master of the ancient 21-string Chinese zither), The Wu-Force and Uncle Earl.

With the exception of a few restyled traditional tunes, all tracks on Echo in the Valley are originals, and are largely co-written – a different creative approach from their first album, where songs were mostly his or hers. "This time, we really wanted to truly write together," Béla adds. "We spent a lot of our time on the lyrics, deciding what we want the songs to communicate, both literally and under the surface." Béla and Abigail's creative process on Echo in the Valley is sonically made manifest in the record's major themes of harmony, empathy and surrender. As Abigail explains, the intense, intimate collaboration that Fleck and Washburn put forward on this project required "a spirit of staying strong, but also a willingness to release into the other's ideas to create something new," possibly something bigger and more beautiful than one could do on one's own.

"The follow-up to their 2014 self-titled debut finds the husband-and-wife duo exploring new territory by restricting their creative path: They only used banjos on their latest set of songs, and ensured all recordings could be reproduced live. The resulting conversations they have -- a mix of original songs (all co-written for the first time in their career as a duo) and covers of Clarence Ashley and Sarah Ogan Gunning -- reveal a quiet muscularity. The limitations, rather than stripping away their imaginative prowess, instead lay fecund ground. If 2017 really is the 'Year of the Banjo,' then Béla and Abby are its exciting exemplars, showcasing just how much fun can be had on the edge." - Amanda Wicks, The Bluegrass Situation

• 180g Vinyl LP
• Limited time full album download card

Side One:

1. Over The Divide
2. Take Me To Harlan
3. Let It Go
4. Don't Let It Bring You Down
5. Medley: Sally In The Garden / Big Country / Molly Put The Kettle On
Side Two:
1. My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains
2. Hello Friend
3. If I Could Talk To A Younger Me
4. On This Winding Road
5. Come All You Coal Miners
6. Bloomin' Rose

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