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Boomkat Product Review:
A landmark release for veteran session player and soloist Bill Frisell, one of America's most broadly accomplished guitarists. Over the years Frisell has collaborated with everyrone from Elvis Costello to avant-garde mavericks like John Zorn and even drone metallers Earth, winning a Grammy award along the way for his solo jazz album Unspeakable. This collection lifts songs from Frisell's Nonesuch catalogue, all themed around his own personal interpretation of the 'Americana' genre, revisiting standards like 'Shenandoah', Hank WIlliams' 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' and the Carter Family's 'Wildwood Flower'. Frisell's playing is utterly exceptional throughout, and it's a joy to hear a guitarist with such measured and articulate phrasing approaching American folk music. His take on the rag song format (simply titled 'Rag') is stunning, departing from the Fahey/Basho school of the discipline and bringing far greater depth and sophistication to the table, synchronising two component guitar parts with some exquisitely florid fingering. A musician well-known for his affinity with effects units, Frisell isn't squeamish when it comes to approaching traditional country and blues songs with a barrage of pedals at his disposal. The modulation and swelling chorus cast over his electric guitar tone on 'Have A Little Faith In Me' are just weird enough to sound out of place without obscuring Frisell's lightness of touch, making for a memorable slice of Telecaster-twangin' balladry. The continual switching between acoustic and electric instruments reveals the full depths of this man's abilities and the thoughtful selection of pieces makes this 'Best Of' set feel more like a proper album. Excellent.