Ramblin' Jack Elliott New Album
Ramblin' Jack Elliott will release his long-anticipated follow-up I Stand Alone on April 7, 2009, entitled A Stranger Here. Working with producer Joe Henry (Bettye LaVette, Solomon Burke, Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint), the 77-year-old Elliott sings and plays acoustic guitar, and is backed by a stellar collection of musicians handpicked by Henry, among them Van Dyke Parks and David Hidalgo (Los Lobos).
Revered for his interpretive take on traditional American music, on A Stranger Here Elliott steps out of the country/folk arena. Haunting, evocative landscapes crafted by Henry construct a mood that is enhanced by Elliott's world-scarred voice. Together, musician and producer examine a carefully selected number of pre-WWII blues songs in a wholly unique way.
I pitched the idea that he interpret country blues music from the Depression era of his birth," writes Henry in the liner notes of A Stranger Here, songs as dark, funny and strange as is he and the times that produced them, and also ones that still resonate in these turbulent days: songs from the blues masters Jack had known during their latter-day resurgence - and his own ascension - in the early sixties (Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis); songs that share shape and subject with many folk songs of the same period but speak with a particular poetry to struggle, love, justice and mortality - off-handedly and all at once. I needn't have pitched so hard. Jack seemed intrigued by the notion from the start, and had no trouble reading the songs as pertinent to him. He pounced on each one as it came up during the four days of recording in my basement studio, gave each a face of suave cunning, and was as unexpectedly arch as Bob Hope might've seemed strolling through a Fellini tableau. He's using an old language but always speaking in the present tense."