Album Review of
Rearrange My Heart

Written by Joe Ross
September 21, 2019 - 4:44pm EDT
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At first glance, Che Apalache (from Buenos Aires) may look like a standard bluegrass band without a bass player. One discovers, however, that their creative world music covers many bases. Latin, jazz, gospel and classical influences make this a very pleasing album choice for the eclectic listener who simply likes tasteful and inspirational music with numerous interpretive twists. The band is led by Joe Troop (fiddle, lead vocals), a North Carolinian multi-instrumentalist and composer who emigrated to Argentina in 2010. While teaching music there for a living, he connected with Pau Barjau (banjo), Franco Martino (guitar) and Martin Bobrik (mandolin). “Che Apalache” could mean “Appalachian Picking Pals,” and the four started performing together in 2013. An earlier album called “Latingrass” was well received, and now “Rearrange My Heart” has the production assistance of world renowned banjo player Bela Fleck and an ambitious promotional tour schedule. The band’s musical vision takes us on a cross-continental journey that refuses to be constrained by borders.

The band can certainly play straight ahead bluegrass (“Over in Glory / New Swing”), and one has to chuckle as Troop exclaims “this angel band’s about to rock and roll!,” and the song evolves into a rollicking ride that concludes with “bringing folks together is the new swing!” This band’s strength is their ability to follow their own innovative muse. Troop’s original music is enlightening and inspirational. Their topical song “The Wall” calls for a better world in a “land where freedom rings.” Sung mainly in English (with a few lines in Spanish), “The Dreamer,” is also a statement about social injustices inflicted upon immigrants who are merely seeking love and salvation. “24 Demarzo (Dia de la Memoria)” is a spiritually-tinged instrumental. Troop had previously taught in Japan, and “The Coming of Spring” is a unique original sung in Japanese. Che Apalache gets an A grade for their inventiveness and musicianship, and I expect them to build a legion of fans around the world.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)