This album can be predicted to be a chartbuster for some time to come. The reasons are obvious to all fans of Edgar Meyer (among whom I count myself): His ability to "mix it up" with rhythmic glee, using strings alone as the driving pulse, his way of putting together themes and harmonies for chamber strings, typically in a contemplative way, that recall the chamber music of Bartok, Kodaly and Janacek, his unequaled skill as the leading contrabassist of our time, and, most prominently for those classical music lovers who are looking for "interesting and fresh" crossover music, his unmatched skill in writing down music lines for nonimprovisational classical string players that sounds fully improvisational.
This last point cannot be overstated. For both Yo-Yo Ma elsewhere and Joshua Bell on this disc, Meyer has created music that has the freshness and immediacy of improvisation without actually being so. The piece de resistance on this disc is of course "Death by Triple Fiddle," and I expect that this track will keep the album on the charts. But it is actually the more ruminative tracks, such as the title tune and "If I Knew," which I personally favor, largely because everyone in the group is much more in his element in these. Truth to tell, after repeated hearings of "Death by Triple Fiddle," the sense I get is that Sam Bush and Mike Marshall are great fiddlers in their own right, and Josh Bell's lines in this (virtuosic as they are) eventually start to wear thin because he can't quite get into the swing of the whole thing. It is as if the correct "feel" for hot-licks newgrass fusion as envisioned by Meyer et al is something that needs to be acquired at an early age, as would also be the case for the proper feel for jazz or the blues; it is not something is readily picked up by an already-mature artist.
In a thematic sense, this album is at the intersection of two earlier Meyer albums, "Uncommon Ritual" (with Marshall and Bela Fleck, the "Bartok of the banjo") and "Strength in Numbers" (with Bush and Fleck, as well as that fiddler par excellence, Mark O'Connor, and Jerry Douglas on dobro. If "Short Trip Home" catches your fancy, you owe it to yourself to try these two earlier endeavors, because the riches are deeper and longer lasting. They are both available at Amazon.com.
A parting note if you are thinking that this as the first legitimate crossover CD ever: It's a nice thought, but the facts speak otherwise. More than twenty years ago, the late, great flutist Jean Pierre Rampal made an album with Claude Bolling, playing Bolling's "Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano." This album was on the Billboard charts for nearly ten years! And even that album may not have been the first ever, particularly if one is to include any piece of classical music that makes the "top ten." But I'm glad that this Edgar Meyer work has opened doors for you. He has a way of doing just that, and in fact did it for me.