Bill Frisell - Disfarmer (3 stars)

Bill Frisell - Disfarmer

(Nonesuch Records)

The slightly ungrammatical-looking title actually refers to a person, photographer Michael Disfarmer, who captured telling images of the rural American south in Arkansas in the early 1940s. His given name was Meyers, but apparently he changed it to Disfarmer to distance himself from his family roots and the poor farmers he photographed.

Frisell uses his work as inspiration for the 26 short tracks here. They can sound a little bitty, and even inconsequential, but Frisell’s trademark spidery guitar work holds the interest, with regular band members Jenny Scheinman (violin), Greg Leisz (steel guitar and mandolin) and Viktor Krauss (bass) contributing their own colours and textures to the music. The guitarist throws in a few period covers alongside his own distinctive compositions, and the cumulative effect of these fragments is quietly impressive.


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