Last week at a show I was reminded of how much fun music can be for the players as well as the audience when I got to witness Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford play a one-off performance.
The concept is simply enough, you take a notebook of Bob Dylan’s late 60s lyrics and set them to music. The key ingredient is to have put T-Bone Burnett in charge. He recruited this group of musicians that could rise to the challenge of creating a proper framework for the lyrics. The result is the album Lost On The River: The new Basement Tapes.
And just like T-Bone did with the movies O Brother Where Art Thou and Inside Llewyn Davis he was able to get the musicians together for at least one performance to play in front of an audience and then most likely a TV broadcast as I’m sure this was filmed to be shown later.
Jim James let everyone know they didn’t know about this show “until a day and a half ago” and I think that helped keep the music fun and loose. Without worrying about production values or trying to connect with a big audience with exaggerated movements or elaborate costumes they just like the music speak for itself.
The highlight of the show was the back to back playing of Giddens’ smoldering “Hidee Hidee, Ho” compared to James’ old-timey arrangement.
Jim James version of “Hidee Hidee Ho”
Another great highlight is Taylor Goldsmith taking all the players off mic to create this version of “Card Shark” It was a truly memorable night!