Face a Frowning World : an E.C. Ball Memorial Album

Face a Frowning World : an E.C. Ball Memorial Album


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Face a Frowning World : an E.C. Ball Memorial Album

E.C. Ball was a genius composer of old-time country and gospel songs, the man responsible for classic bluegrass fare like "Poor Ellen Smith" and "Pretty Polly," as well as the deathless gospel anthem "Tribulations." A tribute album like this, overdue as it is, is a tightrope walk: irony will kill it dead, but so will overarching earnestness, both of which, sadly, are tendencies among the urban singer/songwriter hipsters who are frequently drawn to such projects. It's a tribute to the professionalism of the mixed bag of musicians who contributed to this album that both irony and earnestness are kept tightly in check -- for the most part. Both Dave Bird (on "He's My God") and Catherine Irwin ("Cabin on the Hill") commit fairly serious crimes of quavery falseness on their contributions, but Rayna Gellert's beautifully understated rendition of "Lord I Want More Religion" is absolutely perfect, as is the Handsome Family's eerie take on "Jenny Jenkins." The Sandpaper Dolls pay "Jubilee" the respect it is due, by rendering it with plainspoken professionalism, whereas Bonnie "Prince" Billy joins with Bird and Irwin to halfway destroy Ball's holiday-gospel masterpiece "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem." Jon Langford delivers a loosely but wonderfully rocking interpretation of "When I Get Home, I'm Gonna Be Satisfied," and Joe Manning gives "Warfare" an equally fine country-rock setting. All in all, this is a deeply uneven but ultimately rewarding tribute to a man who deserves one or two more similar homages.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/08/2009
Label: Tompkins Square
UPC: 0894807002288
catalogNumber: 2288

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Michael Hurley   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jon Langford   Vocals
Joe O'Connell   Background Vocals
Handsome Family   Vocals
Rachel Grimes   Piano,Background Vocals
Paul Oldham   Bass
Catherine Irwin   Vocals
Bonnie "Prince" Billy   Vocals
Samantha Parton   Vocals
Jolie Holland   Vocals
Nathan Salsburg   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Rayna Gellert   Fiddle,Vocals
Jan Bell   Vocals
Pokey LaFarge   Vocals
Kirk Kiefer   Piano,Accordion,Electric Guitar
Sandpaper Dolls   Vocals,Background Vocals
Joe Manning   Vocals
Glen Dentinger   Vocals,Background Vocals
Dave Bird   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Amber Estes   Background Vocals
Brian Manley   Mandolin
Eli Hall   Pedal Steel Guitar
Rebecca Dennison   Background Vocals
Neil Hulswede   Pedal Steel Guitar
Justin Eslinger   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Dobro,Percussion
Jordan Forst   Electric Guitar
Suki Anderson   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Alan Lomax   Engineer
Paul Oldham   Engineer
Kevin Ratterman   Engineer
Nathan Salsburg   Producer,Liner Notes
Zak Riles   Engineer
Justin Eslinger   Engineer

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