10 String Symphony sounds just like its name suggests. The group consists of two 5-string fiddle players who, together, cook up a dynamic musical stew that covers a wide spectrum of acoustic-based roots music, hitting on old-time, folk and bluegrass, all delivered with a dash of rock and roll spunk.
The Nashville-based duo sprang up in 2012, when Rachel Baiman, a Chicago native and former Illinois state fiddle champion, met up with Christian Sedelmyer, formerly of The Farewell Drifters and now a touring member of The Jerry Douglas Band. The two formed the band out of mutual admiration for each other’s playing.
10 String’s sophomore album, Weight Of The World, drops October 23 (pre-order here). In addition to the duo’s athletic chops, the album showcases their dedication to original song-craft, with a Dylan cover (“Mama, You Been On My Mind”) thrown in the mix. Stream the album’s title track below, and see what Baiman had to say about the tune’s inspiration.
Rachel Baiman: “‘Weight Of The World’ was inspired by the book Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I was driving back to Nashville from Chicago where my dad had given me a recorded version of the book. It’s a pretty intense book, and a pretty long and boring drive, so by the end of the trip I was completely immersed in the story of Inman and Ada. When I finally got back home, the book wasn’t done so I just sat in my driveway and listened to the ending, which is completely heartbreaking but I won’t give away any spoilers for those of you who haven’t read it.
Anyway, there is a scene in the book where Inman, the main character, encounters a bear. He has a spiritual belief regarding bears, and really doesn’t want to kill it. So when the bear charges at him, he merely steps aside, but the bear runs itself straight off of a cliff and dies. Inman finds a bear cub up in the tree left alone, too young to survive on its own. Seeing no other outcome for the young cub, he kills and eats it. He had never tasted flesh so tender, the book says, and he wonders which of the deadly sins it tastes like. He can’t seem to place the taste so he decides on a new sin, the sin of regret.
It’s such a powerful idea for that story, which is about a man gone to fight in a war who has lost all faith in the cause, but it’s also about the needless death of the two bears, and the general regret regarding decisions that lead to futility and pain.
When I wrote the song, I was focused more on the regrets that I feared in my own life, not making the most of my time, not accomplishing anything meaningful, missing a chance at love, etc. I don’t worry too much about the traditional sins (sloth, gluttony, greed, lust), but regret is something I think about constantly. I think for my generation, which is characterized by too many options, along with a desire for fulfillment and authenticity, the fear of regret is always present.”