So, we have the infamous murder ballad Pretty Polly, the comic Camptown Races, the funeral Will The Circle Be Unbroken, the outlaw tale of Jesse James, the depression piece Hard Times Killin’ Floor Blues, the ragtime of The Entertainer and the doomed love trysts of Railroad Boy and The Coo Coo Bird. Carter and Kiefer have taken the spirit of these as a starting point for their spectral guitar improvisations, then fleshed them out with piano, percussion, bass and drums. In this thrillingly vast sonic terrain are moments of foreboding, tenderness, melancholy and gut-wrenching rawness.
Two of Kiefer’s longtime cohorts, Scott Leftridge and Chip Conrad played bass and drums respectively, while Califone’s Ben Massarella handled percussion. Also contributing to From The Great American Songbook is a host of American musicians – including Tony Conrad, James Jackson Toth, Glenn Jones, and Sharron Krauss – with their reminiscences and insights into these songs with which they also found great personal resonance.
aldea f.: tom & christian