A Prairie Portrait.
[CD music]. By Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, John Giordano, Music Director. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Western Jubilee Recording Co., ca. 2000. $15.00 CD, $10.00 cassette. http://www.westernjubilee.com/ & http://www.fortworthsymphony.com/
The 16 selections are beautifully performed. The strings, reeds, brass, keyboards, and vocals immediately lift your attentiveness and pride and carry you through traditional and original melodies, lyrics, and story-telling. Don describes the production as a melding of classical music, cowboy music, and cowboy poetry wherein they “create yet another dimension on the artistic landscape of the Great American West.” Don does the singing, Waddie, the story-telling. The other 60 folks make moving sounds, while John rides point.
The best instrumentation is “Home on the Range” for the successful projection of sentimentality, but “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” is plainly exciting. Waddie’s “Commutin’” and “Throwback” lay out some common details of cowboy life, but the short “Horses, Dogs, and Cowboys” conveys a more philosophic tone. As for good songs, Don’s “West of Yesterday” playfully tweaks at nostalgic grand gestures. His “Annie Laurie” shares a universal lost love lament. Thanks to the Bass Foundation for their production assistance.
Recommended widely. 2000 Wranger Award.
The meditative nature of much of the cd may lend itself to a calming of the class, much as the cowboys sang their restive herds into quietness. - WH