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Good Dog, Happy Man

Good Dog, Happy Man cover art

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News & Reviews

  • Bill Frisell Brings Multimedia "Disfarmer Project" to Europe

    Bill Frisell launches an 11-city European tour featuring the music of his last Nonesuch album, Disfarmer, in Hamburg, Germany, tonight. Joining him on tour are steel-guitar player Greg Leisz, bassist Viktor Krauss, and violinist Carrie Rodriquez. In the multimedia piece, inspired by the life, work, and subjects of eccentric photographer Mike Disfarmer, projected images of Disfarmer's portraits illuminate Frisell's musical perspectives on this fascinating character.

  • Bill Frisell Begins Two-Week Residency at New York's Village Vanguard; Film Featuring His Music Opens at Hot Docs Festival

    Bill Frisell is in New York City this week to begin a two-week residency at the Village Vanguard. This week's line-up features the Bill Frisell Trio, with Eyvind Kang on violin and Rudy Royston on drums. Next week, Frisell leads his 858 Quartet, with Kang returning on violin, Jenny Scheinman on violin as well, and Hank Roberts joining on cello. Tonight, Portrait of a Man, a new documentary film featuring Frisell's music, receives its international premiere at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto.

About this Album

Bill Frisell's release Good Dog, Happy Man further explores the musical ideas expressed in two previous recordings for Nonesuch, Nashville (1997) and Gone, Just Like a Train (1998). Good Dog, Happy Man reunites guitarist/composer Frisell with the rhythm section featured on Gone, Just Like a Train, bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer Jim Keltner, as well as multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, k.d. lang) on dobro, mandolin, Weissenborn, National steel guitar, and lap and pedal steel guitars, and Wayne Horvitz (Zony Mash, Naked City, The President) on Hammond B-3 organ.

With the addition of Greg Leisz and Wayne Horvitz and fuller orchestrations than on other recent recordings, Good Dog, Happy Man breaks new ground, blending Frisell’s warmly refined sound with such indigenous musical elements as country, blues, bluegrass, and rock. L.A. Weekly, in reviewing Gone, Just Like a Train, said, “What Frisell has begun to fashion on his latest releases is a sensibility as unmistakably American as that of Charles Ives or Duke Ellington, with the harmonic and tonal complexity of both and a seductive melancholy all his own.” The New York Times called Gone, Just Like a Train Frisell’s “simplest and best recording in years.”

The 11 original tunes on Good Dog, Happy Man celebrate Frisell's emergence as a composer who has created a genre unto himself. As with his preceding two albums, he continues in pursuit of a music that reveals a wide emotional range and that ultimately defies categorization. The one non-original composition on the album, a rendition of the traditional folk song "Shenandoah," is performed here with special guest Ry Cooder and dedicated to the guitarist Johnny Smith.


Bill Frisell, electric and acoustic guitars, loops and music boxes
Greg Leisz, pedal steel, Dobro, lap steel, Weissenborn, National steel guitar and mandolin
Wayne Horvitz, organ, piano and samples
Victor Krauss, bass
Jim Keltner, drums and percussion
Ry Cooder, electric guitar and Ripley guitar (5)


Produced by Lee Townsend
Recorded at O’Henry Sound Studios, Burbank
Recording and mixing engineer: Judy Clapp
Assistant engineer: Jeff Shannon
Mixed at Different Fur Recording, San Francisco
Assistant Engineer: Adam Muñoz
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, NYC
Production assistance: Noel Grey and Louisa Spier

Design by Barbara deWilde
Photographs by Michael Wilson

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