Willies

Willies

5.0 1
by Bill Frisell
     
 

You’ve got to give it up for him -- guitarist Bill Frisell was ahead of the curve when it came to instrumental Americana. On recordings such as Nashville and Good Dog, Happy Man, this innovative stylist and influential musician was digging into the less-examined contours of bluegrass and country music with depth and wit, allowing his unabashed affectionSee more details below

Overview

You’ve got to give it up for him -- guitarist Bill Frisell was ahead of the curve when it came to instrumental Americana. On recordings such as Nashville and Good Dog, Happy Man, this innovative stylist and influential musician was digging into the less-examined contours of bluegrass and country music with depth and wit, allowing his unabashed affection for these genres to rise to the surface and mingle with his jazzier inclinations. The Willies continues in this vein, as Frisell, along with bassist Keith Lowe and multi-instrumentalist Danny Barnes, reworks such classic tunes as “Sitting on Top of the World,” “Goodnight Irene,” “Single Girl, Married Girl,” and “Cold, Cold Heart” with customary inventiveness and charm. (Frisell’s own compositions employ the same melodiousness and accessible construction as the older material.) At this point in his ever-evolving career, Frisell seems obsessed with musical textures; his own guitar playing, and the work of his cohorts, is placed squarely at the service of the song and the overall performance. The result is a unified album that practically sings -- even without words.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
Echoing his 1995 release, Nashville, Bill Frisell's The Willies revisits the auburn sounds of American roots music. Although he has dipped into folk music in prior efforts, these songs follow the traditional mode even more faithfully than any of his previous releases, with only minor shifts into his familiar dissonant explorations. Assisted by Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo and guitar and bassist Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple, Wayne Horvitz & Zony Mash), Frisell's quirky tonalities and sweeping soundscapes still pervade each track, but the disquieting surges found on releases like The Bill Frisell Quartet and Gone, Just Like a Train are relatively reigned in. This in no way means that The Willies sounds anything like Hot Rize or New Grass Revival -- it is most certainly a Bill Frisell album; dark and mysterious, eerily beautiful, richly textured and layered -- just sort of a kinder, gentler Bill Frisell album. Highlights include the banjo-driven Carter Family standard "Single Girl, Married Girl" and the group's stark rendition of "Sugar Baby," a song usually associated with the similarly haunting Dock Boggs. Anyone familiar with the guitarist's style will understand his choices in recording these timeworn love songs and murder ballads, and traditional folk aficionados will be intrigued to hear their old favorites in this new environment.
Billboard
The Willies is essentially beautifully crafted music performed by a cosmic string trio.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/11/2002
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597965223
catalogNumber:
79652

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