Bill_frisell-nashville_span3
September 1997

Bill Frisell
Nashville
Nonesuch Records

When guitarist Bill Frisell started creating his discography in the early '80s, he was a humble iconoclast who circulated on the fringes of various musical localities, including-but not restricted to-jazz, new music, rock, vaguely cinematic ideas, and, yes, C&W. In the last few years, Frisell seems to have been tracing the roots of his polyglot style, from "cover" tunes (John Hiatt, Copland, Ives, Sonny Rollins, etc.) to his new scores for Buster Keaton flicks, and a splash of neo-Americana. And now, perhaps inevitably, Frisell goes to Nashville. For his latest project, Frisell went to meetin' with some of Nashville's finest, and more progressive session players, and struck up great sympatico, especially with the dobro master Jerry Douglas and banjoist Ron Block. Frisell's sweet 'n' slightly twisted songwriting flair is on the money here-from the barnstormer "Go Jake" to the lazy gait of "Shucks"-and he pulls out covers like Neil Young's "One of These Days" and Hazel Dickens' "Will Jesus Wash the Bloodstains from Your Hands," sung with true grit by Robin Holcomb. Through it all, Frisell's guitaristic approach, often sounding like a cross between Chet Atkins and a Martian pedal steel player, shows respect for tradition by tugging it in new direction.

Originally published in September 1997
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