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NEW ALBUM: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn - Echo in the Valley
[Image: MI0004287309.jpg?]
Partners, in banjo virtuosity and in life, this married couple have made a most charming album wielding only their twin chordophones with the addition of Mrs Fleck’s voice. Both are highly accomplished musicians and although the thought of an album consisting purely of banjo music was a little daunting to me at first, I ended up finding it quite compelling. Must be that penchant for Bluegrass - I would imagine they have drawn heavily on the Appalachian folk music tradition. From what I can tell, the album was inspired by the changes wrought in their lives by the birth of their son - the generally different perspectives that brings to life, as a whole, and the feelings it evokes. There is nothing too mushy about it though, and however it came about, the end result is heartfelt, beautifully executed, sophisticated and polished. Lovely stuff IMHO. 
This is their third collaborative album and they’ve chosen similar cover artwork as for their first eponymously titled release –
[Image: 220px-BelaAbbyCover.jpg]
And since I’m into artwork interpretation right now … there is ‘dual’, as in two banjos and themselves, and then there is duel which is how that stance comes across – a silhouette against early light, ready to take a few paces in opposite directions before beginning a ‘battle’ - not that I believe there’s a big musical competition between them - it's that counterpoint thing - they play off one another, hence a bit of a bit of a play on words (in my imagination). Silhouette portraits/profiles  were also popular, historically, and most effective; this looks as though it might come from an antique and treasured locket. Use it, don’t use it, just rambling on Big Grin . This one’s going on the list.
My favourite track is “If I Could Talk To a Younger Me” … simply lovely. There is only a live clip available on YouTube which although wonderfully endearing and real, doesn’t do the album version justice. Here is an audio (I hope) …
The live clip … 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson

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