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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Joel Harrison - Free Country

Free Country is a collection of old Country and Appalachian tunes arranged in unusual, even radical, ways. Simply put, this body of work is my sonic view of the experiment known as America — not the billboard, but the underbelly.

I love these songs, their pathos, economy, magisterial beauty, sly wisdom, and deep soul. I have tried to be true to their timeless, primal spirit, while illuminating their essence with my own imprint, using every musical device at my disposal. The stylistically unbound sounds goes from meditative and gorgeous, to humorous and haunting, to reckless and intense.

Joel Harrison: electric, fretless, steel guitar, and cassette machine
Dave Binney: sax, sampler
Rob Thomas: violin
Sean Conly: bass
Alison Miller: drums

Norah Jones: voice
Raz Kennedy: voice
Uri Caine: piano
Tony Cedra: accordion

Free Country is a band that was born 5 years ago in the Stork Club in downtown Oakland amidst perennial Christmas lights, a decrepit posse of toothless regulars, a jukebox full of Patsy Cline, and a handful of brave new music acolytes. There were 2 drummers, two guitarists, a saxophonist, and a fiddle player (I think!), and the band included Adam Levy who now plays with Norah Jones, who is one of the singers on our recording…small world.

The concept has blossomed into a steady group with a large repertoire unlike anything else in the "Jazz" World. The band takes Old country and Appalachian tunes and has its way with them in unusual, sometimes startling, but always interesting ways. George Jones, or, say, Gid Tanner and The Skillet Lickers never sounded like this. Styles crisscross and become a blur, each piece is its own new world and yet still tied into the primal origins of the traditional music.

Thanks to Luigi for hinting this... nice stuffs!

The site

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