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The Willies

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  • 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

Guitarist, composer, and bandleader Bill Frisell released his 16th Nonesuch recording with The Willies. Taking the unique sound that the L.A. Weekly described “as unmistakably American as that of Charles Ives or Duke Ellington” deeper into aural explorations of American traditional music, The Willies is Frisell's characteristically inimitable and modern take on bluegrass and country blues.

The collection features eight traditional offerings including "Cluck Old Hen" and "Cold, Cold Heart," as well as eight original compositions. Produced by Lee Townsend and engineered by Tucker Martine, The Willies was recorded in Seattle at Flora Avenue Studio and features Frisell on electric and acoustic guitars and loops, Danny Barnes (Bad Livers) on banjo and guitar, and Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple, David Sylvian, and Wayne Horvitz’s Zony Mash) on bass.

“It’s hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell," says the New York Times. "Mixing rock and country with jazz and blues, he’s found what connects them: improvisation and a sense of play.”


Bill Frisell electric and acoustic guitars, loops
Danny Barnes banjo, acoustic guitar, bass harmonica, pump organ
Keith Lowe bass

Produced by Lee Townsend
Recorded at Flora Avenue Studio, Seattle
Recording and Mixing Engineer: Tucker Martine
Mixed at Different Fur Recording, San Francisco
Assistant engineer: Adam Muñoz
Mastering by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York City

All compositions by Bill Frisell (Friz-Tone Music/BMI) except “Sittin’ on Top of the World,” “Cluck Old Hen,” “Sugar Baby” and “Blackberry Blossom” (Traditional); “John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man” and “Single Girl, Married Girl” by A.P. Carter (Peer International Corp./BMI); “Cold, Cold Heart” by Hank Williams (Acuff Rose Music Inc./BMI); and “Goodnight Irene” by Huddie Ledbetter and John A. Lomax (Ludlow Music/BMI)

Design by Gwen Terpstra
Cover art by Bill Frisell

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