Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bill Frisell - All Hat Soundtrack (Emarcy, 2008)

For a movie about an ex-con trying to reconnect with with rural roots, it's hard to think of a better musician to compose a soundtrack than guitarist Bill Frisell whose soundscapes cover all areas of roots music and sound cinematic even when they are not attached to a film. Accompanying him on this project are Mark Graham: harmonica, Greg Leisz on steel guitars and mandolin, Jenny Scheinman on violin, Viktor Krauss on bass, and Scott Amendola on drums. It's a shame that this album is difficult to track down, because it is one of Frisell's most enjoyable of recent years with the band evoking every possible aspect of americana from the deep blues, to country, jazz, folk and everything inbetween. The driving "John Hardy" and "Hardy Race" are highlights, but it is really the entire album as a whole that makes the biggest impact. The short, pithy performances blend into one another like an ever changing landscapre during a long country drive, shifting moods and tempos throughout. It is a sharp and compelling performance, and along with the excellent double album History/Mystery released earlier this year, this shows that Bill Frisell is at the peak of his powers.

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