My goal on the latest Free Country recording is again to arrange country and Appalachian music for a jazz group in new and unusual ways. I’m conscious of both moving forward and staying true to the elemental soul of the songs, where old stories are told by modern, protean players. Or as a friend once put it, “Downtown meets the heartland.” Whether sung straight, or approached as improvisational vehicles, I find endless currency in this material.
An angel is defined as an attendant and benevolent spirit. Perhaps we musicians are entrusted to act as such. This is, of course, a serious task, and yet the beauty of these tunes is they encourage us not just to meditate and grieve but also to laugh and dance.
Joel Harrison: Guitar, dobro, 6 string banjo, National Steel, voice
David Binney: Saxophone
Jon Cowherd: Piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer
Uri Caine: Piano, Fender Rhodes
Chris Tordini, Stephan Crump: Upright Bass
Brian Blade, Allison Miller: Drums
Darol Anger, Christian Howes: Violin
Hank Roberts: Cello
Nels Cline: Guitar
Alecia Chakour, Everett Bradley, Theo Bleckmann, Nicki Logan, Brian Blade: voice
Ring of Fire