Bill Frisell, this gentle, genre-bending guitarist who can capture the world’s essence in a song or speak in a voice that is clearly American, extends himself towards us and in the process touches something basic, something existential. His music is full of the joy of life yet there’s always a hint of sorrow there, too, some echo of our knowledge that nothing lasts forever.
So it is with “Good Old People,” from Bill Frisell’s 2003 album The Intercontinentals. We have melody and pulse, soaring guitars and African rhythm. Violin and pedal steel are driven by drum and cymbal, calabash and triangle, all played by a truly intercontinental collection of Frisell’s best friends.
“Good Old People” stands on its own just fine as music but like many Frisell creations it’s more than a world-class cut from a world-class album. “Good Old People” is a vessel for emotions both joyful and melancholy, a soaring, cascading celebration of life that gets to the essence of what makes Bill Frisell special — his talent for touching the common humanity in all of us.
Listen to this. No matter where you are, it sounds like home.
Bill Frisell – guitars, bass
Sidiki Camara – calabash, djembe, congas, percussion
Jenny Scheinman – violin
Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar
Vinicius Cantuaria – guitars, drums, percussion
Christos Govetas – oud, bouzouki