Bill Frisell with Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr, and Kenny Wollesen | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Bill Frisell with Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr, and Kenny Wollesen All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Sold Out (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Jan. 24, 7 p.m. 2015

Bill Frisell named his most recent album Guitar in the Space Age! (OKeh), suggesting a 1950s suburban take on science fiction—but the music is more about the era than about the space race. Frisell has interpreted rock here and there throughout his lengthy career, but this is the first time he’s put it at center stage, with a focus on songs he grew up with in the late 50s and 60s. He and his trusted collaborators Tony Scherr (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums), and Greg Leisz (pedal steel) put an atmospheric, instrumental spin on nuggets from the surf-rock canon (“Pipeline,” “Telstar”), classic-rock favorites (“Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, “Tired of Waiting for You” by the Kinks, “Surfer Girl” by the Beach Boys), and Nashville treasures (“Cannonball Rag” by Merle Travis, “Bryant’s Boogie” by Jimmy Bryant). The album feels nostalgic, with a sort of sweetness and innocence dominating most of the interpretations—though the version of Link Wray’s immortal “Rumble” gets a tad raunchy. By and large the sound remains of a piece with Frisell’s aesthetic, with patient tempos and airy arrangements that suggest the wide-open spaces of the American west; the guitarist contributes a couple tunes that fit right in, feeling as timeless as the classics that surround them. Every track has plenty of soloing, but Frisell and Leisz play with restraint, reflecting the style of each tune rather than stuffing them all into a jazz-rock straitjacket. The full band from the album will appear tonight. —Peter Margasak

Price: sold out

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