Originally released in 1988, this album marked one of the truly successful world fusion creations, which Rhythm Magazine said symbolizes "the birth of a new era in music". It's a direct, transcendent exchange between six acclaimed musicians from diverse cultures, including L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Nicky Skopelitis, Daniel Ponce, Aiyb Dieng and producer/bassist Bill Laswell. This CD is a true American melting pot of deeply tangled roots, merging East and West to create a new music soundscape. At it's core, there's Indian music, and somewhere underneath lies flashes of the slow rustic lope of American country music.
"Joe Smith, American" lives in a Los Angeles suburb and works at an aircraft plant. One night Joe hears a voice cut in on a radio program: "This is God. I'll be with you for the next few days." It turns out, everyone in the world listening to any radio heard the same thing. More messages come; some people react positively, others negatively.
Meryl and Paul Morgan have separated since his infidelity. He's a Manhattan lawyer, seeking forgiveness. She's moved on, focusing on real estate sales. As he walks her to an appointment one evening, pleading his case, they witness a murder; the murderer sees them. The FBI wants them in witness protection until the killer is caught. He's already hunting them. The FBI sends them to Ray, Wyoming, a tiny ranch town, where they stay with the aging sheriff and his gun-toting wife (who's his deputy). Meryl and Paul must sort out their relationship while their New York ways bump up against those of the West. Meantime, Meryl knows two things that Paul doesn't.