|Guitarist, composer and bandleader Bill Frisell marks his first-ever solo release with Ghost Town, a project he considers a major personal milestone. The idea of making a solo record is one that had been simmering for a long time, "for as long as I've been playing," recounts Frisell.
Frisell believes that one of the most important aspects of music in general, and certainly in his own music making, is interaction. An essentail element of his creative process is responding to stimulus from other musicians, and so the prospect of playing alone was a great challenge, both technically and creatively. Finding a way to be comfortable with silence was one of his primary concerns with the truly solo performances. For the more layered material, through the use of loops and overdubbing, Frisell learned to rely solely on his own sound, creating an environment where he could feel the same sense of responding to other musical voices.
Much of the original material on the album (except for Ghost Town and Poem for Eva) receives its first recording here. Rounding out the set of originals are several cover tunes which Frisell links to various historical periods in his life, and different stages in his musical development. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" by Hank Williams and "Wildwood Flower," by A.P. Carter reflect on some of the ideas he's been exploring in the past few years. In fact, he's listened to more Hank Williams than ever recently. "Wilwood Flower," the classic Carter family song, is one he discovered only a few years ago. Frisell has been a fan of John McLaughlin ever since he started listening to jazz in 1969, when he heard McLaughlin on Mile's Davis' classic Bitches Brew sessions, and McLaughlin's "Follow Your Heart" had been a favorite for some time. Frisell first heard "My Man's Gone Now" (George & Ira Greshwin) the very first time he discovered Jim Hall on a recording with Bill Evans.
In recent months Frisell completed his most extensive US tour yet, performing in 22 cities with his New Quartet (featuring Greg Leisz, David Piltch, and Kenny Wollensen). He has just finished recording an album of new material for Septet, whose personnel will include the New Quartet plus Curtis Fowlkes, Billy Drewes, and Ron Miles. In the meantime, Frisell is scheduled for a European showcase tour in March 2000, and concerts with the New Quartet, Septet, and trio with Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollensen are scheduled for later this year. Ghost Town is Bill Frisell's thirteenth recording for Nonesuch.