Bill Frisell - Disfarmer - What the Critics Have to Say

"Like David Lynch, post jazz guitarist Bill Frisell has a knack for insinuating an odd haze around the most wholesome aspects of Americana. Disfarmer, named after the cranky Arkansas photographer who created gripping images of his neighbors, finds Frisell teamed with steel guitarist Greg Leisz, violinist Jenny Scheinman and bassist Viktor Krauss for a set of 26 evocative miniatures. Each one flits by like a half-remembered dream, yet paradoxically their sum amounts to one of Frisell's loveliest, most consistently affecting recent creations." - Steve Smith, Time Out, New York


"The music of omnivorous guitarist Bill Frisell reflects an eclectic range of influences .... On "Disfarmer," he draws inspiration from the Depression-era portraits of little-known Arkansas photographer Michael Disfarmer. The result is a provocative soundscape that features a mixture of acoustic and electric guitars.... Creatively restless, Frisell is best suited for exploring vast territory and responding with imaginative integrity, which is evidenced on "Disfarmer." - Dan Ouellette, Billboard

"Exquisite." - Independent on Sunday

"Frisell's filmic themes summon up the ghosts of a lost America. The results are gently beautiful." The Times

"The tunes prove so hauntingly evocative that they conjure the spirits of long-vanished people and places without the need for visual accompaniment." - Metro

"The hymns and hoedowns of 'Disfarmer' are both affectionate and atmospheric." - Daily Telegraph

"You practically feel the Arkansas soil slipping through your fingers." - The Sun

"Frisell's pacing is magnificent, and the album sweeps along with purpose like a gorgeous, spacious epic. It is full of sounds that suggest settings and characters, including the mysterious eccentric who inspired the recording." - Houston Chronicle

In the small mountain town of Heber Springs, the Arkansas artist known as Disfarmer captured the lives and emotions of the people of rural America between 1939-1945. Critics have hailed Disfarmer's remarkable black and white portraits as "a work of artistic genius" and "a classical episode in the history of American photography. Disfarmer's work has captivated the imagination of the celebrated guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, who has been inspired to write and perform music in concert with multiple projected images from this treasure trove of period portraits. Three long-time musical collaborators, violinist Jenny Scheinman, bassist Viktor Krauss and steel guitarist Greg Leisz, will share the stage in interpreting Frisell's music. Set and lighting designer Alex Nichols is on board to spearhead the visual treatments of the program.

This piece was premiered at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio in March of 2007. This project periodically tours and dates are posted on the Tour page.