Fervor Coulee regulars know how much I appreciate Dave Alvin. His set with the Guilty Women at my first Hardly Strictly is one of the best I have witnessed, made that more poignant by the death of Amy Farris the week prior. For most of the last decade Eleven Eleven was going to be my favourite album of the 20Teens, bumped by Josh Ritter in the last two weeks of the decade.
So news of a new album is positively received. But as the press release pasted below show, I already bought many (most) of these songs. Around 2010 I put together a 3-disc mix tape of ‘non-album’ Alvin offerings. Paid a few bucks for the downloads, too.
Still, I know I will buy this new one, too. Video for “Highway 61” posted above. I don’t typically post new releases, but maybe YepRoc will remember I exist. [November, 6- note to self: they did not.]
GRAMMY award-winning guitarist, singer, and songwriter Dave Alvin shares “Highway 61 Revisited,” a cover of the Bob Dylan classic and the second track unveiled from his first solo album in eleven years, From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings, out November 20 on Yep Roc Records.
Recorded at Craig Parker Adams’ Winslow Studios in Los Angeles, Dave (on vocals and electric guitar) was joined in studio by Greg Leisz (electric guitar), Gregory Boaz (bass), and Don Heffington (drums). Watch/share the “Highway 61 Revisited” video created by Victor Krummenacher.
“When UNCUT magazine asked me to record “Highway 61” for their Bob Dylan tribute CD insert, I was scared to death,” says Alvin. “Not only is it impossible to do a better version of this song than Dylan had already done, but it would be pretty damn hard to come anywhere close to doing a version as good as Johnny Winters’ classic cover. Knowing this, I still figured, ‘what the hell.’ I called the musicians, figured out an arrangement somewhere between Mose Allison and Little Milton, plugged in my guitar, and went for it. The guys and I had an absolute blast reimagining this version of Mr. Dylan’s classic, and I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did playing it.”
Produced by Dave Alvin, From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings, the 16-song collection offers a mix of acoustic blues and ballads to electric bar room blues to folk and country/rock. Featuring songs recorded over the years for his own records and tribute albums, “the majority were recorded for no other reason at all than the sheer kicks of going into a recording studio to make some joyous noise with musicians and singers that I love and admire,” offers Alvin.
The album includes songs written by Alvin as well songs written by Alvin’s dear friends like Peter Case, Bill Morrissey and, Chris Smither, and heroes like Willie Dixon, Bob Dylan, Earl Hooker, Doug Sahm, Lil’ Hardin Armstrong, Marty Robbins, and Bo Carter. There are also contributions from dearly departed comrades like Chris Gaffney, Amy Farris, and Bobby Lloyd Hicks and from old Blasters pals like Gene Taylor along with various members of The Guilty Men/Women/Ones.
“If I had a few extra bucks in my pocket, I’d book a day in the studio, call some old (or new) friends, comrades and co-conspirators to join me and see what would happen,” notes Alvin, “no pressure, no expectations, just making music for the transcendental thrill of, well, making music.” Some of the brilliant accompanists joining Alvin in-studio include Greg Leisz, Cindy Cashdollar, Bob Glaub, Don Heffington, Christy McWilson, Danny Ott, Dale Spalding, and Cindy Wasserman. “I consider myself extremely lucky to have had such a stellar collection of musicians to make some noise with, and to say that I’m proud of the performances on this release would be a gigantic understatement,” adds Alvin.
“And, yeah, of course, I played beat up, old guitars on all the songs. I sincerely hope you enjoy these songs (and the musicians/singers bringing them to life). These recordings may be rare, unreleased, or little heard, but I’m very proud of them, and they hold a very special, warm place in my heart. Just like my old guitars.”
From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings Track listing:1. Link of Chain2. Highway 61 Revisited3. Variations On Earl Hooker’s Guitar Rhumba4. Amanda5. Albuquerque6. Mobile Blue 7. Perdido Street Blues 8. On The Way Downtown9. Inside10. Krazy And Ignatz11. Peace12. Man Walks Among Us13. Beautiful City ‘Cross The River14. Dynamite Woman15. Who’s Been Here16. Signal Hill Blues