Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Dylan Co-Conspirator Swings Out of the Past

A Dylan Co-Conspirator Swings Out of the Past

TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007 AT 4 A.M.

When East Village–conceived, Austin-based swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown took a break in 2004, co-founding fiddler-vocalist Elana Fremerman was picked by Bob Dylan to be the point person in the mercurial Cap'n D's near-nightly assault on his own hallowed repertoire. Emboldened by this experience, Elana has now changed her surname to James (more likely to be spelled right by promoters), scooped up Hot Club guitarist Whit Smith for her own tour, and released her self-titled solo debut.
Hot Club's albums consist mostly of covers, mostly to very good though sometimes scattered effect---ditto several show tapes---but James wrote six of these 13 tracks, and this set's a story. The centerpiece is "All the World and I," in which a chiming guitar briskly patrols droning currents of bowed fiddle and bass as well as the held notes and images of James's multi-tracked vocals. The tension of timing, even in dreams and memories, also winds through the hyper-real brightness of Percy Wenrich's (non-Christmas) "Silver Bells," a fiddling duet with western swing's ever-nimble Johnny Gimble, and on into the urban twilight of Ellington and Strayhorn's "I Don't Mind": "I don't mind the ice and snow/The tears of brine that make love go . . . I'll take a chance." Out of the past, but to be continued!
(Her second solo album, after resuming w Hot Club, showed up in 2015, worth the wait:


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