In Good Company’ from Bill Evans(July 03, 2012)
Bill Evans does for the five-string banjo what Van Gogh did for colour ... treats it in a different way and then shares it with you. And his recent release ‘In Good Company’ is a virtuoso master class in exploring bluegrass from the tradition to the far edges of alternative. With this album ‘good company’ is definitely to the point as you will find yourself in the company of some first-class music.
An excellent Evans composition (and there are five to enjoy) ‘The Distance Between Two Points’ opens the album, this is followed by a stunning cover of John Martyn’s ‘Walk To The Water’ featuring The Infamous Stringdusters. Bill delivers his brilliantly structured ‘Big Chief Sonny’, ensures the room gets rocking with ‘Dakota’ and also teams up with Joy Kills Sorrow to deliver Sarah Siskind’s ‘On and On’ featuring Emma Beaton’s sorrowful vocals.
The tour de force of this album is a four-song Beatles medley – including the reflective ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ an oft-forgotten song from ‘The White Album’ and ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ complete with powerful bass line, delightful banjo and incisive fiddle breaks. There’s a soaring take on ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ and with a blisteringly punchy drive added for good measure, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. This medley is simply stunning. If you thought Lennon & McCartney’s music could not transition to bluegrass banjo, then listen to this and think again.
So ‘In Good Company’ is doubly appropriate because it features a stellar collection of superb musicians (a full listing appears on the sleeve notes) who in company with Bill deliver an album that will break boundaries and bring bluegrass to a wider audience. ‘In Good Company’ is available here.
Reviewer: Tom Franks