The Goat Rodeo Sessions

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The Goat Rodeo Sessions
The goat rodeo sessions.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 24, 2011
RecordedJune 12-15, August 8-12, 2011 The Barn
GenreBluegrass, classical
LabelSony Masterworks
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3.5/5 stars[1]

The Goat Rodeo Sessions is a 2011 collaborative album by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. The album won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album and the Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.


Meyer previously collaborated with Ma on Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey, and with Thile on Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. In 2008, Meyer and Thile played on Ma's Songs of Joy and Peace and the three discussed a future collaboration. Along with Duncan, they held their first rehearsal at Ma's house.[2] The compositions are credited to Meyer, Thile, and Duncan—with "Here and Heaven" co-written with Aoife O'Donovan.[3]

The term goat rodeo refers to a chaotic event where many things must go right for the situation to work, a reference to the unusual and challenging aspects of blending classical and bluegrass music. Yo-Yo Ma described a goat rodeo, saying: "If there were forks in the road and each time there was a fork, the right decision was made, then you get to a goat rodeo."[4]

On January 31, 2012, Ma, Meyer, Thile, Duncan, and O'Donovan played their first public concert at the House of Blues in Boston, presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston. The show was streamed in real time to movie theaters in the United States. In addition to songs from the album, they played Johann Sebastian Bach's Gamba Sonata Number 1 Movement 4, Fiddle Medley, and All Through The Night. They released part of the concert as an EP, The Goat Rodeo Sessions Live from the House of Blues, on February 7, 2012. A DVD of the concert, The Goat Rodeo Sessions Live, was released on May 29, 2012.

According to Stuart Duncan, the piece "13:8" isn't a reference to time signature, but rather to the bible verse Hebrews 13:8. At a concert at Tanglewood on August 15, 2013, Duncan told a story about an airline pilot who, every time he was given his dinner by the flight attendant, said, "Hebrews 13:8". She finally looked it up and learned that the Bible verse read: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." He said that that was the basis for the title, and that music students are wasting their time looking for that time signature within the piece.

Two bonus tracks, Mostly Six Eight and Parallax, were released as a single, More from the Goat Rodeo Sessions, on February 29, 2012.

The album debuted at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 chart, No. 1 on the Classical as well as the Classical Crossover charts, and as well as No. 1 on the Bluegrass chart where it stayed for 11 weeks. It has sold 160,000 copies in the United States.[5]

On February 10, 2013, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album and the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile except where noted.

2."Quarter Chicken Dark"4:47
3."Helping Hand"4:32
4."Where's My Bow?"5:29
5."Here and Heaven" (Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Aoife O'Donovan, Chris Thile)3:53
6."Franz and the Eagle"6:53
7."Less Is Moi"7:27
8."Hill Justice"4:29
9."No One But You"3:54
11."Goat Rodeo"4:18



  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. The Goat Rodeo Sessions at AllMusic. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Graff, Gary (October 27, 2011). "Yo-Yo Ma Trades Bach for Bluegrass in 'Goat Rodeo Sessions'". Billboard.
  3. ^ McCall, Michael (October 24, 2011). "Review: 'Goat Sessions' a genre-blending good time". SFGate.
  4. ^ "Live on Soundcheck: The Goat Rodeo Sessions". November 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "Goat Rodeo Sessions / Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile". Arkiv Music.
  6. ^ "WINNERS: 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards (2012)". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 2 April 2013.