Session Report: Early Inspirations


Violinist Tessa Lark’s new collaborative album, The Stradgrass Sessions, brings together the musical influences of her childhood, fusing bluegrass, folk, jazz and classical styles. The project might easily have been delayed by Covid-19, but her musical partners were only too happy to record remotely

The Stradgrass Sessions might seem unique to a classical eye, with its multi-genre programming of classical alongside bluegrass, folk and jazz, but that’s simply how I grew up with music. I was born and raised in Kentucky, and my father is a bluegrass banjo player, so although my primary training is classical, I played the mandolin before I ever played the violin. I was always learning different types of fiddle music and improvising. As a result, the artists I’ve collaborated with on this project come from the same ‘genre’ as I relate to that word. Jazz pianist, composer and vocalist Jon Batiste, bassist and composer Edgar Meyer, bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland and mandolinist Sierra Hull are all extremely different players, but equally, they are such soulful musicians who seem to operate from the same plain of excellence, naturalness and beauty of sound. The separate tracks were then recorded all over the place! This was partly due to the nature of the project, but also because Covid-19 showed up…

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