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Time for Three to play Philadelphia's World Cafe Live / interview

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Older but hopefully not too terribly wiser, Time for Three has landed.

Fourteen years since its casual beginnings at the Curtis Institute, the string trio now has the major recording deal of its dreams, and (the members hope) the kind of support that knows how to showcase a classically trained bluegrassy trio with ever-evolving taste for musical fusion.

Perhaps the most dramatic evolution yet is heard within seconds on the new album, titled Time for Three, with an added, strongly pulsating rhythm section. Although the members - violinists Zachary De Pue and Nicolas Kendall, and bassist Ranaan Meyer - remain their recognizable selves, the landscape around them has changed. That change did not happen without - ahem - discussion.

"I've always been very vocal about being a trio and using our imagination as much as we can within the two violins and bass instrumentation," said Meyer. But other members - and the new album's producer and label - felt differently.

The album is the flagship release for the new Universal Music Classics label, which promises to give an American accent to the conglomerate that includes Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. For the occasion, Time for Three expanded temporarily on the new recording to include guest stars, most significantly vocalists.

The group's live show on Wednesday at World Café Live will feature only the core members. But the idea of going beyond the usual lineup is clearly aimed at capturing an audience that might not normally be drawn to all-instrumental music.

"We've known for years in this commercial world that the hook is having a singer, and we don't sing," said violinist Kendall. "It was time to be headed in this direction. I think the rest of the team really saw how it could open doors for us." Read the full interview and see Time for Three at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live at 8pm on July 23rd.