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May 1998

Bill Frisell
Gone, Just Like A Train
Nonesuch Records

Frisell has a mysterious take on the guitar, one that can suggest and function in just about any style there is, conjure a wide range of textures and tones, work in a variety of registers (sometimes at the same time), and effortlessly slip from inside to outside. With assistance from bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer to the superstars Jim Keltner (Cooder, Dylan, Clapton, Harrison), he draws on all of those resources for this follow up to 1997's Nashville.

Using open-tuned acoustic guitar, Frisell establishes some nice, relatively conventional spaces during "Verona" and "Raccoon Cat," vignettes that are practically naive in their light, countrified simplicity. Darker and weirder in demeanor are "Blues For Los Angeles," which opens the album and unfolds over a plodding walking groove, and "Loo#kout For Hope;" both numbers feature a multidimensional mix of scorching guitar work, wobbling tremolo, and jumping harmonics. The title track is a kind of a country blues tango, which in a way summarizes Frisell's approach, where seemingly opposing influences work simultaneously. And while the package's tray card lists 15 tracks, the CD has 16, this last one a peculiar little snippet that briefly reprises the opener.

Originally published in May 1998
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