Skip directly to content

Disfarmer

  • 478524

Track Listing

News & Reviews

  • Sam Amidon and guitarist Bill Frisell are the guests on the eTown radio show. Following Frisell's set, Amidon makes his eTown debut performing three songs from his latest album, Lily-O—"Down the Line," "Walkin' Boss," and "Your Lone Journey"—as well as "Another Man Done Gone," from an earlier album, and joins host Nick Forster for a conversation about his life and music. The show closes with a group performance of "I'll Fly Away." You can listen to the complete show and watch the performances here.

  • Sam Amidon is the guest on today's episode of NPR's World Cafe. He is joined by guitarist Bill Frisell, who is featured on Amidon's new album, Lily-O, to perform four songs from the album: "Walkin' Boss," "Blue Mountains," "Your Lone Journey," and a web-exclusive take on "Groundhog Variations." The two also talk with World Cafe host David Dye about recording of the new album in Iceland and more. You can watch their performance of "Walkin' Boss" below and hear the complete session at npr.org.

Buy Now

  • About This Album

    The late Michael Disfarmer was an odd, curmudgeonly character in the rural community of Heber Springs, Arkansas, who, despite his anti-social character, chose to record the stark images of his fellow townspeople, during the 1940s and '50s, in cheap black-and-white photographic portraits. Decades after the photographer’s passing, a cache of work made by this solitary and oft-reviled man was rediscovered, and he has come to be regarded as an important outsider artist. Among the many drawn to his plain yet deeply evocative pictures was Chuck Helm, Director of the Performing Arts at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, who introduced guitarist and composer Bill Frisell to Disfarmer’s oeuvre on the hunch that Frisell might be inspired by it.

    Says Helm, the catalyst for Disfarmer, "To me, Bill Frisell is a uniquely American artist with a distinctive and singular musical voice, like that of Thelonious Monk or Aaron Copland. In his probing yet atmospheric evocations of American vistas I could hear parallels to the emotional truths of Disfarmer’s compelling photographs.”

    As Helm suspected, Disfarmer’s work resonated with Frisell and led to the creation of a touring multimedia work, Disfarmer Project—featuring Frisell, lap steel guitar player Greg Leisz and violinist Jenny Scheinman, plus slides of Disfarmer’s photos, displayed on screens. The piece premiered on March 3, 2007, at the Wexner Center, on the campus of Ohio State University. The score was subsequently recorded in Seattle and Nashville, produced by Frisell’s longtime collaborator Lee Townsend and also featuring Viktor Krauss on bass. Along with the Frisell’s original compositions, he interpolates versions of such tunes as Arthur Crudup’s “That’s Alright Mama” and Hank Williams Sr.’s “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)” into this subtly—yet stunningly—beautiful set.

    In his liner notes, Frisell, who took a driving trip to Heber Springs to learn more about the area where Disfarmer chose to ply his trade, says, "Of course I was blown away when I saw his photos for the first time and started to learn a little about his life. What a fantastic story ... I kept thinking about the many other unsung and misunderstood artists who never had the recognition they deserved during their own time: Vermeer, Van Gogh, Charles Ives, Henry Darger, etc. ... I try to picture what went on in Disfarmer’s mind. How did he really feel about the people in this town? What was he thinking? What did he see? We’ll never know, but as I write the music, I’d like to imagine it coming from his point of view. The sound of him looking through the lens."

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Bill Frisell, electric and acoustic guitars, loops, music boxes
    Greg Leisz, steel guitars, mandolin
    Jenny Scheinman, violin
    Viktor Krauss, bass

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Lee Townsend
    Recording and Mixing Engineer: Tucker Martine
    Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi
    Recorded at Avast Studio, Seattle (February ‘08) and Sound Emporium, Nashville (May ‘08)
    Mixed at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley
    Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York City
    Production assistance: Adam Blomberg

    Design by Evan Gaffney

    All compositions by Bill Frisell, except “That's Alright, Mama” by Arthur Crudup, “Lovesick Blues” by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills, “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” by Hank Williams Sr., “Shutter, Dream” by Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, Jenny Scheinman, and Viktor Krauss. "Arkansas” is based on the song “Arkansas Traveler” by Colonel Sanford C. "Sandy" Faulkner.

    The photographs of Mike Disfarmer are used by kind permission of Peter Miller, to whom we would like to express our deepest gratitude. For more information on Disfarmer’s work, please visit www.disfarmer.com.

    This music was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio and The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis.

More From

nonesuch's picture
on May 28, 2009 - 11:04am
Artist Name: 
Bill Frisell
genre: 
Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 04:00
DescriptionExcerpt: 

The late Michael Disfarmer was an odd, curmudgeonly character in rural Arkansas, who, despite his anti-social character, chose to record the stark images of his fellow townspeople, during the 1940s and '50s, in black-and-white photo portraits. Frisell has set the images to music for this recording, to which the Observer gives four stars, calling it "brilliantly" done; the BBC finds it "quietly impressive ... a patchwork quilt sewn with empathy, warmth and a sense of weary pathos."

Description: 

The late Michael Disfarmer was an odd, curmudgeonly character in the rural community of Heber Springs, Arkansas, who, despite his anti-social character, chose to record the stark images of his fellow townspeople, during the 1940s and '50s, in cheap black-and-white photographic portraits. Decades after the photographer’s passing, a cache of work made by this solitary and oft-reviled man was rediscovered, and he has come to be regarded as an important outsider artist. Among the many drawn to his plain yet deeply evocative pictures was Chuck Helm, Director of the Performing Arts at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, who introduced guitarist and composer Bill Frisell to Disfarmer’s oeuvre on the hunch that Frisell might be inspired by it.

Says Helm, the catalyst for Disfarmer, "To me, Bill Frisell is a uniquely American artist with a distinctive and singular musical voice, like that of Thelonious Monk or Aaron Copland. In his probing yet atmospheric evocations of American vistas I could hear parallels to the emotional truths of Disfarmer’s compelling photographs.”

As Helm suspected, Disfarmer’s work resonated with Frisell and led to the creation of a touring multimedia work, Disfarmer Project—featuring Frisell, lap steel guitar player Greg Leisz and violinist Jenny Scheinman, plus slides of Disfarmer’s photos, displayed on screens. The piece premiered on March 3, 2007, at the Wexner Center, on the campus of Ohio State University. The score was subsequently recorded in Seattle and Nashville, produced by Frisell’s longtime collaborator Lee Townsend and also featuring Viktor Krauss on bass. Along with the Frisell’s original compositions, he interpolates versions of such tunes as Arthur Crudup’s “That’s Alright Mama” and Hank Williams Sr.’s “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)” into this subtly—yet stunningly—beautiful set.

In his liner notes, Frisell, who took a driving trip to Heber Springs to learn more about the area where Disfarmer chose to ply his trade, says, "Of course I was blown away when I saw his photos for the first time and started to learn a little about his life. What a fantastic story ... I kept thinking about the many other unsung and misunderstood artists who never had the recognition they deserved during their own time: Vermeer, Van Gogh, Charles Ives, Henry Darger, etc. ... I try to picture what went on in Disfarmer’s mind. How did he really feel about the people in this town? What was he thinking? What did he see? We’ll never know, but as I write the music, I’d like to imagine it coming from his point of view. The sound of him looking through the lens."

ProductionCredits: 

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Lee Townsend
Recording and Mixing Engineer: Tucker Martine
Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi
Recorded at Avast Studio, Seattle (February ‘08) and Sound Emporium, Nashville (May ‘08)
Mixed at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley
Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York City
Production assistance: Adam Blomberg

Design by Evan Gaffney

All compositions by Bill Frisell, except “That's Alright, Mama” by Arthur Crudup, “Lovesick Blues” by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills, “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” by Hank Williams Sr., “Shutter, Dream” by Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, Jenny Scheinman, and Viktor Krauss. "Arkansas” is based on the song “Arkansas Traveler” by Colonel Sanford C. "Sandy" Faulkner.

The photographs of Mike Disfarmer are used by kind permission of Peter Miller, to whom we would like to express our deepest gratitude. For more information on Disfarmer’s work, please visit www.disfarmer.com.

This music was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio and The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis.

Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

478524

Number of Discs in Set: 
1disc
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
075597993080BUN
Label: 
MP3
UPC: 
075597993073
Price: 
14.00
MusicianDetails: 

MUSICIANS
Bill Frisell, electric and acoustic guitars, loops, music boxes
Greg Leisz, steel guitars, mandolin
Jenny Scheinman, violin
Viktor Krauss, bass

[{"parent":{"title":"Get on the list !","body":" Get exclusive information about NONESUCH tour dates, video premieres and special announcements ","field_newsletter_id":"14075483","field_label_list_id":"6389157","field_display_rates":"-1","field_preview_mode":"false","field_lbox_height":"","field_lbox_width":"","field_toaster_timeout":"6000","field_toaster_position":"From Bottom","field_turnkey_height":"400"}}]

Performs On