With an impressive run of hits in the '80s – thanks to a country sound washed in a sleek, pop sheen and with enough rock dynamics to put it all over – Alabama built an early template for how to be a country group in the 21st century. They had chart hits in three different decades, a pretty impressive lesson in longevity in a business that hardly encourages it. This well-sequenced set features some of the group’s most enduring songs, including “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why),” “Song of the South,” and “Mountain Music,” among others, and makes it easy to hear why Alabama was so ubiquitous in the genre.
The double-disc set Molly O'Day & the Cumberland Mountain Folks contains all 36 tracks that O'Day recorded for Columbia Records between 1946 and 1951. O'Day was one of the most important female country singers of the '40s, but she never attained the stardom she deserved because she retired from the business in 1951. Nevertheless, her music has come to be regarded as some of the finest of her era, especially considering how she could make traditional mountain music, both sacred and secular, come alive. Molly O'Day & the Cumberland Mountain Folks preserves her classic sides in a classy fashion, and any musicologist or dedicated fan of string bands needs the compilation in their collection.
The music on this recital was specifically written or arranged for duo violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun. It highlights the personal and professional connections between Philip Glass and Nico Muhly, a longtime colleague and admirer of Glass's work. Glass's miniaturist works, Mad Rush and In the Summer House, create a maximum effect when paired with Muhly's minimalist Four Studies and Honest Music.