Much of my wayward youth was spent journeying through various musical genres. Like the geographical type, musical travel helps impede bigotry, in this case musical bigotry. This experience has helped me to look at the music I hear more fully and not to reflexively dismiss something just because it doesn’t for some rigid idea of what I should like.
One genre (sub-genre really) I still love is, for lack of a better term, World electronica. Old world sounds mixed with laptop beats that meld into a surprisingly great thing. One artists that did this melding particularly well was the tango/electronica focused Gotan Project stewarded by dj, producer and Frenchman Philippe Cohen.
If you mentioned to me that this Parisian was now not only jumping genres by another border altogether by packing up his laptop and heading to Nashville I would have told you it was a recipe for disaster, and I would have been dead wrong.
Cohen had solid instincts to hire some of Nashville and Texas’ best – Jim Lauderdale, David Olney, Sam bush, Melonie Cannon and Rosie Flores to name a few – and to hire Bucky Baxter (Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams) to co-produce. Like with the Gotan Project works, the songs here are lush and custom made for early morning brunch or relaxing late night listening, but the soul is still intact and beauty undeniable. Atmosphere is scattered throughput the songs in the form of musicians chewing fat, crickets and distance dog barking and train whistles. What could have easily been ham-handed is an outsiders’ loving snapshot of country music and culture.
From the pedal steel and banjo flecked opener of Jim Lauderdale sung “The Academy of Trust” to the unlikely covers of
Abbas “Dancing Queen” (featuring Melonie Cannon) and the Sex Pistols “Pretty Vacant” (featuring the amazing Rosie Flores.) All this with the warm, organic production of a front-porch guitar pull with the slightest tinge of electronic wizardry.
Cohen has proven himself to be a true connoisseur of sound and annihilator of boundaries with this fine release.
The Moonshine Sessions – Luna’s Song