Frisell (multi-tracked) builds moody spiraling guitar pieces
and alone, where he explores spatial possibilites with a minimalist’s
ear… a milestone in the career of a true innovator – enchanting
as anything he has done and a clear window into his muse.
"Handling all the instruments on Ghost Town (guitars,
6-string banjo, bass, and loops), Bill Frisell merges his head-long
dive into roots music with his trademark loops and sonic ingenuity
- all to stunning effect. Frisell's compositions run the gamut
from pure Americana ("Fingers Snappin' and Toes Tappin'")
to tweaked-out soundscapes ("Creep" and "Outlaw").
On the standard "When I Fall in Love," he plays the
tune's melody on the 6-string banjo over beautifully comped chords
that pulse with slow tremolo. Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonely
I Could Cry" receives similar treatment - only this time
Frisell picks the tune's mournful melody on acoustic guitar.
On "Variations on a Theme (Tales from the Farside)," he
kicks in the distortion to solo over a haunting two-chord vamp."
"Frisell and producer Lee Townsend allow each song's individuality
to emerge, yet Ghost Town has a coherent sound and mood.
Don't miss this amazing, contemplative record by a modern guitar
- Guitar Player
"Bill Frisell's Ghost Town is not a desolate place
where hopes blow around like tumbleweeds and memories have dried
to dust, but a lyrical Utopia where the one-of-a-kind guitarist
can indulge his love of glowing heartland melodies in splendid
Taking a break from the illustrious crossover bands with which
he has traveled through Nashville and other roots-music
intersections, Frisell goes solo on a collection of originals,
country staples and popular standards. The bright, vibrant sound
he and his longtime producer Lee Townsend get from his layered
picking and strumming lights up the room. The plaintive beauty
he coaxes from the songs, never breaking a sweat but never relinquishing
a meaningful tension on the strings either, can light up your
Frisell is not one of your newfangled genre-benders. He is less
interested in stylistic diversification than locating the ageless
underground well in which jazz and blues flow into folk and country.
Coming from another artist, rendering the standard "When
I Fall In Love" on banjo might smack of musical posturing.
But here, lightly embroidered with some overdubbed counterpoint,
it is as relaxed and openly romantic as a Nat King Cole vocal.
Departing the long, purple night of the soul portrayed by Hank
Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", Frisell offers
a lucidly understated early-a.m. reverie that finds self-knowingness
in being alone rather than tearfulness.
While there is no explicit evidence on Ghost Town of
his recent discovery of early string heroes such as Dock Boggs
and Roscoe Holcomb, tracks such as "Wildwood Flower" carry
the full weight of their back-country blues. For all his optimism,
Frisell is hardly a Norman Rockwellian innocent, as one jazz
reviewer recently characterized him. There is complex feeling
in his reflections of Americana, and, as expressed through his
spooky looping, even a dark side."
- No Depression
"Guitarist Bill Frisell has come a long way since his last
fully solo album, 1983's "In Line." He has traveled
from the cool abstractions of an ECM, avant-jazz sensibility
toward a style suffused by the rich, warm sounds and good humor
of vernacular Americana. In fact, though filed at retail with
Frisell's other jazz-oriented work, the evocatively titled "Ghost
Town" has more in common with folk music - even more so
than his recent country-tinged masterpiece, "Nashville." Playing
acoustic and electric guitars (as well as the occasional banjo)
through an array of effects, Frisell conjures off-kilter prairie
hymns and bent Appalachian waltzes; in addition to new material,
he reprises such original tunes as his theme to "Tales From
The Farside" and essays vintage numbers like "I'm So
Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Wildwood Flower." One
of the fastest-selling Frisell albums to date, "Ghost Town" sounds
like a classic already."