Longtime collaborators Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden’s 1997 full-length, Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories), is a set of mostly-acoustic duets and a fine showcase of what has come to be termed “pastoral jazz,” offering an impressionistic slice of Americana with marked blues-based idioms and country-inspired material. The influence of country music is particularly evident on this one, most clearly represented by their cinematic take on Jimmy Webb’s composition, “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.” Regarding this, Haden once said, “I always strive to play beautiful melodies that have character. I think I was influenced a lot by country songs in that respect. A lot of country musicians play very melodic, and I was singing all the time. From when I was two until I was fifteen, I sang every day on the radio. You develop a melodic sense when you sing. That went into my playing.”
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