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10 STRING SYMPHONY
Nashville duo 10 String Symphony began as a partnership of mutual admiration a much needed creative release valve for Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer, two 5string fiddle players and veteran sidemen of Nashville’s music scene. Rachel, a former Illinois state fiddle champion in the old time tradition, needed an outlet for the new sort of songs she was writing, while Christian, originally a classically trained violinist, now a current touring member of the Jerry Douglas Band, was looking to get in touch the impetuous spirit of the rock bands he played in before his arrival in Nashville. With the love of the 5string fiddle and its musical possibilities as its focal point, the band’s mission statement was as clear as it was expansive:
Two fiddles. Two Voices. Epic music.
And yet, “Weight of the world,” the band’s latest batch of recordings to be released on Oct. 23rd, is not at all the record one might expect from a duo of seasoned Nashville fiddlers. This is not a record of showboating no mere polished showcasing of technical virtuosity. Rather, at its core, “Weight of the world” is raw and intimate a nuanced and patient record with designs to move rather than merely impress its listeners. Rachel and Christian’s musical prowess and chemistry is certainly on display for those in the know, but listening deeply reveals that these flourishes are always in service of reaching the listener emotionally the spiritual earnestness of songcraft which keeps us perennially returning to the roots of American music.
ALL THINGS MUSIC has described the band’s’ sound as a “new take on old ideas,” a concept and tension that the duo continues to explore throughout “Weight of the World.” This is showcased on songs like “Someone to be Good For,” where a timeless fiddle melody is underscored by Rachel’s acutely personal and timely take on the search for romantic fulfillment in the midst of brokenness. Or in the searching harmonies and exploratory fiddle runs of a song like “I’m Not Lonesome” While the title may hearken back to the tradition, Christian’s haunting melodies and searching cadences bespeak of an artist that has spent as much time with Wagner and Pet Sounds era Beach Boys as he has with the Seeger brothers.
And perhaps this is what makes “Weight of the World” such a brave record: Its the soundtrack of a process a picture of a band striving to maintain the purity of purpose of the American oldtime tradition, while simultaneously stretching its limitations with unique arrangements, unflinchingly personal lyrics, and a bravely progressive melodic palette.
“Weight of the World” is a snapshot of an impetuous band in midstride oldsouls who are passionately determined to speak to our contemporary moment. From the sounds of it, this is just the beginning.
- James Wilson (Sons of BIll)