By Tom Johnson
I spent most of the morning flipping between one disc and the next, restless for something that actually fit my mood. I just didn’t want to, you know, as they say, deal and nothing particularly appealed to me.
On days like this, I tend to gather up a pretty disparate grouping of artists to accompany me to work because, well, I just never quite know what I’m going to be in the mood for. Today, I’ve got noisy accompaniment from one end of the spectrum (Meshuggah, Isis, Melvins, Dillinger Escape Plan) and I stretch all the way to the other end of that spectrum — Dave Douglas, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter. In between you’ll find some Rollins Band, Pixies, Talking Heads, Husker Du, Bjork, and Jeff Buckley. Salvation, I found, laid more toward one end than the other in the form of Viktor Krauss’ Far From Enough.
Essentially, this is the best Bill Frisell album he himself didn’t release. Oh, sure, he plays on it, and it’s almost certianly created with his remarkable sound in mind, but it’s still led by bassist Krauss — who, it just so happens, backs up Frisell on his releases from time to time and oh, by the way, the album also happens to have Jerry Douglas, playing too many stringed-guitar-type instruments to list, who has also appeared on some of Frisell’s work.
It may well have been Krauss’ baby, but Frisell took center stage here, as each tune was clearly derived from Frisell’s mid-1990s post-bluegrass Americana. In a way, it was the best thing featuring Frisell had done in a while.
That yearning quality in Frisell’s guitar still sweeps me away. It’s a sound, as heard on the above cover of Robert Plant’s “Big Log” also featuring vocalist Allison Krauss, that Frisell pioneered and that everyone seems to want to emulate — but can’t.