After Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s wildly successful self-titled debut album, the duet is back with a fresh set of songs, amazing banjo playing and singing called, Echo in the Valley. The two approach the banjo from different angles, one uses the three-finger right hand method and the other a clawhammer right hand style. They also have set unique recording limitations on themselves: all sounds must be created by the two of them, the only instruments used are banjos, and they must be able to perform every recorded song live. Co-written by Fleck and Washburn with wild re-imaginings of Appalachian music, Echo in the Valley is a creative collection of the many possibilities of the banjo. Using seven banjos between them, from Béla’s 1937 Gibson Mastertone to a banjo ukulele and a massive, restored 1905 upright banjo bass. 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, Echo in the Valley is a wildly innovative and beautiful body of art. That’s the short of it!
Echo in the Valley
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
6. My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
7. Hello Friend
8. If I Could Talk to a Younger Me
9. On This Winding Road
10. Come All You Coal Miners
11. Bloomin’ Rose
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Excellent material, playing, singing and recording quality. The two meld as one, as they take us on a journey of instrumentals, soft vocals and unusual banjo sounds. The album has many styles, colors and moods for a duet album, and you will find yourself wondering just how the two created all this sound.