Album Review

Frisell, BIll – “Folk Songs (The Best Of… Vol. 1)” – [Nonesuch Records]

ArtCrimes   4/7/2009   CD, Jazz

Bill Frisell has recorded for the Nonesuch label for about 15 years, working with the same producer throughout that time, Lee Townshend. Nonesuch is now selecting plums from the Frisell catalog to create a “Best of…” series, the first of which is subtitled “Folk Songs.” The last 10 years or so years for Frisell were a period of time when American traditional music joined the many other concurrent influences that together feed his approach to the guitar, but most of his Nonesuch releases haven’t focused on this, other than “Nashville” and his project with Danny Barnes, “The Willies”. These 15 tracks, all previously released but several entirely new to KFJC’s library, run the range from authentic folk and old-time tunes (the maritime working song “Shenandoah,” (with guest Ry Cooder), Dock Bogg’s “Sugar Baby” and the Carter Family’s “Wildwood Flower”), to classic country (Hank William’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”) to contemporary folk (John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith”) as well as a few original tunes that are drawn from a similar well. The result certainly paints a picture of a musician who continues to be stimulated by the simple but compelling sound of traditional music forms. ALL INSTRUMENTAL TRACKS. crimes

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