||Copy of Cedar Hill Refugees Debut CD, Pale Imperfect Diamond
When Jack Clift first heard traditional Uzbek music, it didn’t seem exotic or alien to him. Instead, it reminded him of the mountain music, blues and swing that he’s loved since childhood. The colorful costumes, tempos and emotional fervor of the Uzbek musicians and their audience brought to his mind old episodes of "The Buck Owens Ranch," a syndicated show that was taped in Clift’s hometown of Oklahoma City. Therefore, it only seemed natural to Clift to bring these sounds together. Working with John Carter Cash, son of Johnny and June Carter Cash, Clift and his Uzbek band Jadoo recorded musical backdrops for some of the finest talents in American country music, including internationally respected mountain singer Ralph Stanley (recipient of the 2006 National Medal of Arts), country music icon Marty Stuart, The Peasall Sisters (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Down from the Mountain), Randy Scruggs, Ronnie McCoury, John Cowan, Greg Leisz, and Ron Miles.
This wide array of talent formed the group Cedar Hill Refugees.
From a creative perspective we have two musical entities — traditional American and Uzbek — that have never had the chance to play freely together.
"One of the most gratifying things has been seeing how truly moved the musicians and singers are by each other's contributions." Said Clift.
Some new hybrid is at large that started with two people who simply recognized that these styles had much more in common than might have been assumed -and that the differences illuminated the whole combo in beautiful and unexpected ways. Marty Stuart summed it up when he told Clift "As I've listened to what you've captured in Uzbekistan and seen how it merges with our own musical traditions, it just shows me there's not a dime's worth of difference between good country folks no matter what the country."