I'm so lonesome I could cry
who apparently listened to this kind of music when he was growing up in Kansas, has no interest either in parody or in slavish re-creation. He approaches the project primarily as a composer, even though many of the songs he performs have been written or arranged by others - including his longtime friend and associate Andy Kirshner and the amazing composer and banjo player Paul Elwood, who made an unforgettable impression when this project was first presented in public at Ann Arbor's Edgefest in 1997.
Some of the compositions pay homage to Williams, some are very modern arrangements of his hits, and some are originals that
play with the general style, combining it with contemporary rhythms and harmonies. The instrumentation - with Kirshner singing as well as playing soprano saxophone - includes banjo (Paul Elwood), guitar (Ryan Mackstaller), violin (Steve Trismen), cello (Katri Ervamaa), bass (Tim Flood), and drums (Gerald Cleaver), as well as Bishop's tenor saxophone and clarinet. These are all accomplished players, old friends of Bishop who share his eclectic aesthetic.
[Review published September 2006]