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Edgar Meyer

The masterful skills of Edgar Meyer -- whether as bassist or composer; in bluegrass, classical or a mix of genres -- earned him a McArthur Genius Grant in 2002, but that is not the only accomplishment of this remarkable musician.

Meyer always credits his father, a high school string music director, as his first teacher, and picked up his first real bass -- which had previously served as a flower planter -- at the age of five. He would go on to study at Indiana University and the Aspen Music School with Stuart Stankey and James Buswell. It was Stankey, he says, that showed him how to make the double bass his own. And it was in Aspen where Meyer connected with Béla Fleck. (Meyer also met his wife in the Aspen School's orchestra.)

Fleck introduced Meyer to dobroist Jerry Douglas and violinist Mark O'Connor. After assisting Meyer on his first four albums, all four of them plus mandolinist Sam Bush became the group Strength in Numbers, generally classified as a bluegrass group, but going beyond that sound. That willingness to explore and create new and distinctive styles, as well as his musicianship, is what has always drawn other musicians and audiences to Meyer's music. During the 1980s, artists such as Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris, the Indigo Girls, the Chieftains, Elton John, and others sought out Meyer for their albums. At the same time, Meyer became recognized among traditional Classical circles as a rare virtuoso of the small and ignored double bass repertoire, and earned an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1994.

Meyer's own music is an organic combination of written and improvised sections, fusing folk and jazz and classical styles into something new. Professional collaborations bring out the best of his work, with album after album garnering critical praise. Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey, his two albums with with O'Connor and Yo-Yo Ma, topped charts and best-of lists. Appalachian Journey won a Grammy award, and the three artists appeared on Late Night with David Letterman. In 2011 Ma and Meyer joined with mandolinist Chris Thile (another MacArthur genius) for The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Meyer and Thile have also released two successful duet albums (2008 and 2014) and toured together, which is something Meyer often does when he finds a winning combination of colleagues. Meyer worked with Fleck and Zakir Hussain to write a triple concerto and other pieces for double bass, banjo, and tabla; and with Joshua Bell for Meyer's Concerto for double bass and violin. His concerto for violinist Hilary Hahn is a rare work written for a single instrument and not the bass. Others Meyer has worked with include Mike Marshall and Emanuel Ax. Meyer still does solo recitals, with his longtime pianist Amy Dorfman, in programs featuring classical works alongside his own music, and he continues his relationship with Aspen, returning each year to mentor new students himself. ~ Patsy Morita
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Can't You Hear Me Callin' Bluegrass: 80 Years Of American Music

Disc 1

1. Soldier's Joy

2. Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues

3. White House Blues

5. Cannon Ball Blues

6. D Blues

7. Keep On The Sunny Side

9. I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes

10. Great Speckle Bird

11. Orange Blossom Special

12. Ida Red

13. Pretty Polly

14. Lonesome Old River Blues

15. Mule Skinner Blues

16. Wreck On The Highway

18. Rocky Road Blues

20. Blue Moon Of Kentucky

23. Will You Be Loving Another Man?

24. Blue Grass Breakdown

25. It's Mighty Dark To Travel

Disc 2

1. Can't You Hear Me Callin'

3. Poor Ellen Smith

4. The Drunkard's Hell

5. The Lonesome River

7. The Fields Have Turned Brown

8. The White Dove

10. I'm A Man Of Constant Sorrow

11. I Wonder How The Old Folks Are At Home

12. Uncle Penn

17. Are You Missing Me?

22. 20 / 20 Vision

23. My Lord Keeps A Record

Disc 3

6. Feudin' Banjos

8. Knoxville Girl

10. Twin Banjo Special

11. Gosh, I Miss You All The Time

13. Rank Stranger

18. She Left Me Standing On The Mountain

19. Sunny Side Of The Mountain

24. Rosalee

25. No More Goodbyes

26. The Ballad Of Jed Clampett

28. Rocky Top

29. Mountain Dew

30. Dueling Banjos

Disc 4

3. Pretty Boy Floyd

4. Bristol Steam Convention Blues

5. Farther Along

10. Uncle Pen

14. If I Could Be There

15. So Long, So Wrong

17. The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn

18. Little Maggie

19. Carrie Brown

20. Tortured, Tangled Hearts

21. Walls Of Time

22. Is The Grass Any Bluer

23. Daniel Prayed

24. Twelve Gates To The City

x

Track List: Sugar Hill Records: A Retrospective

Disc 1

1. Could You Love Me One More Time

3. Long Time Gone

4. Moonshiner

5. Hey Porter

6. Little Rock Getaway

7. One More Love Song

8. Church Street Blues

9. One Way Track

10. Why You Been Gone So Long

11. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed & Burning

13. Come And Sit By The River

15. Greenville Trestle High

17. High On A Hilltop

20. Don't This Road Look Rough & Rocky

21. On The Sea Of Life

Disc 2

10. Mariano

11. Rock Bottom Blues

12. At My Window

13. Nobody Knows But Me

16. Mother I'm Lonely

17. Unwed Fathers

20. Lord I've Been A Hard Working Pilgrim

Disc 3

2. All Night Radio

4. Rolling & Rambling (The Death Of Hank Williams)

5. Dry Run Creek

6. Shadow Ridge

7. Let's Shake Loose

9. For All I Know

11. Out In The Parking Lot

12. You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive

13. Gone To Texas

17. Bad Case Of The Blues

18. Dark End Of The Street

19. Let Me Be Your Friend

20. Merry Christmas From The Family

Disc 4

3. I Won't Be There

4. Dear Sarah

5. Bound To Ride

8. The Ant And The Ant

9. I've Got A Mule To Ride

11. Bluegrass In The Backwoods

12. Club Manhattan

13. Little Martha

14. Yonder

15. Whisper In My Ear

16. Hallelujah Shine

17. Chickenshift

18. Lumpy Beanpole & Dirt

20. I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Don't read.this you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life tomorrow will be the best day of your life don't stop reading put this on 15 other songs and 143 minutes when your done press the space bar and your crushes they will appear in big letters on your screen
Report as inappropriate
Blue Spruce is currently one of my favorite pieces of music. Ever.
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ocdhope
Magnificent work by Edgar and his band of geniuses
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crofty98
@Signor Ugarte - You are RIGHT ON, what a piece of music, love it. And the lack of vocals.
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Great music....
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"Big Country" is an outstanding piece of music. Very inspiring... . . . .
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wilson33anth o n y
1 kiss ur left hand
2 say ur crushes name
3 close ur hand
4 say ur name
5 pick a school day
6 post this on 15 songs & ur crush will ask u out on the day u picked
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tlpeters34
I just saw Edgar perform at Telluride and was very impressed by his musicianship and stage presence. I think there might not be a better bass musician.
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Man can't get over how awesomely sounding this acoustic composition is!! :)
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Love this a whole lot !!!
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zmontuori3
Big Country is one of the best acoustic compositions ever written.
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...the happy part here always makes me cry...way to go Jerry...brin g our boys home...
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beautiful... . s e t s me on a "great sonic ride".....if my life had a soundtrack, i would want this song on it.....
Report as inappropriate
Need to add his classcal double bass repertoire: Bach's unaccompanie d suites for solo cello, performed on the double bass, for example
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lbrakeman9
You need to add a WHOLE lot of Edgar Meyer albums to this station ... a WHOLE lot...
Report as inappropriate
great! not to twangy but a great sonic ride

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