Various band members contribute compositional frameworks as a backdrop of sorts for Rinde Eckert's lyricism and recitations on this idyllically focused jazz work. And it's drummer Jerry Granelli's brainchild as he lays down the rhythms for a potpourri of acoustic-electric tunes structured upon medium-tempo rhythms and jazzy dreamscapes.
Eckert's likeable recitals are cleanly delivered amid a style that draws similarities to American cowboy jargon. Moreover, he converses with his alter ego on "20 Questions for an Outlaw, featuring Canadian clarinetist Francois Houle's bluesy lines, amid dialogues about a desperado's morality and reckoning with death. And while humor and wit comprise a portion of these works, the poet communicates a dappled view of humanity, spanning situations that seemingly occurred during the 1930s and onward. The band delves into a Chicago blues motif and much more throughout this undeniably attractive outing that moves forward with a cinematic flair. It's easily one of the more refreshing and insightful jazz-tinged efforts of 2005.
Track Listing: Like a Ghost in the Grass; Our Particular Tragedy; 20 Questions for an Outlaw; Nolan; River of Glass; Your Voice; Just Angels; Last Light; Little White Suit; Never to See You; Smart Women; Spun Like a Spur
Personnel: Rinde Eckert (voice), Francois Houle (clarinet), Jeff Reilly (bass clarinet), David Mott (baritone Saxophone), Christoph Both (cello), Christian Kogel (electric and acoustic guitars), J. Anthony Granelli (bass, lap steel guitar), Jerry Granelli (drums, samples)