Bill Frisell ‘Disfarmer’ CD (Nonesuch) 4/5

Guitarist extraordinaire Bill Frisell returns with a new album after the compilation of his recordings that surfaced earlier in the year. Once again Frisell engages in a masterly exploration of the roots of Americana and the result is a triumph. Masterpiece vignettes of American life are transposed to the guitar as on ‘Lovesick blues’ on which the guitarist’s virtuosity is exemplified. The album is inspired by the photographs of Michael Disfarmer during the second world war period and befitting the ambience Frisell is joined by country-folk musicians in Viktor Krauss on bass, Jenny Scheinman on violin and Greg Leisz on steel guitar and mandolin. A hoedown atmosphere permeates the take on Elvis’ ‘That’s alright mama’ while ‘Lost, Night’ is disarmingly charming. In general, there is a real warmth to the ensemble playing and Frisell’s highly distinctive sound places him in a select group of guitarists of the calibre of Ry Cooder and Pat Metheny. Someone ought to put this kind of music on a film soundtrack and introduce Frisell’s music to a wider audience.

Tim Stenhouse