The Greatest Conversation

Newgrass: Foreground and Background

Posted in New Music, Old Music by Brian Park on September 6, 2009


There are certain artists that I only really enjoy as background music, like Joanna Newsom, and there are certain artists that I only really enjoy if I’m paying a lot of attention to them. That Keith Jarrett song I posted a few days ago is a good example of the latter. Occasionally though, I’ll find a recording that sits nicely in the background, and only gets better with scrutiny; you turn it up, sit in the perfect place, and go “holyshitholyshitholyshit.” Skip, Hop & Wobble by Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg and Edgar Meyer is one of those albums. They put together this album with a bluegrass foundation, but with a large dose of jazz and haunting space that, when you really listen, never crosses the line from memorable to obtrusive.

The whole album is understated and beautiful, but The Travels Of Mr Hulot is especially nice. I fucking love the dobro, and Meyer’s bass work is incredible–my fingers ache just thinking about some of the lines he maintains–. The best part is that when you turn it down it becomes unassuming and sits nicely under the mix of your life.

Fun fact: fuck fun facts.


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  1. […] I’m also not saying that background music can’t be really enjoyable. This ties into my ramblings on foreground and background, but I think the true test of cool sounding music is if you can enjoy it outside of it’s […]

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