Mixing musical styles, like advanced chemistry, is an activity that should be attempted only with protective goggles and a fire extinguisher handy. There are too many ways for any such project to go horribly awry.
But, when composer and producer Jack Clift combined forces with John Carter Cash to combine the music of Appalachia and Uzbekistan (over in Central Asia) something magical happened – musical alchemy. The result: Pale Imperfect Diamond, a collection of Americana/roots/bluegrass standards and a handful of new songs.
The album’s instrumentation was recorded with Jadoo, Clift’s Uzbek band, and John Carter Cash while extra vocal duties were divvied up between artists like Ralph Stanley, Marty Stuart, the Peasall Sisters (yes, those cute little ones in O Brother, Where Art Thou?), John Cowan, Randy Scruggs and Ronnie McCoury. The whole mess of artists goes by the collective name “Cedar Hill Refugees.”
The classic tunes such as Keys to the Kingdom and Wildwood Flower get a fresh coat of auditory paint but the original material, particularly Candle and Colors of the Sky shouldn’t be overlooked in favor of familiarity.