Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry at Codfish Hollow, Maquoketa, Iowa
While it's a difficult to separate the actor from the man with the guitar around his neck and a mouth at the microphone, you're able to do it here with John C. Reilly. One of America's great contemporary actors, Reilly is just as skilled as a musician. Not only does he select some choice old standards, but he also plays around with some of the most interesting people. He's released a 7-inch on his buddy Jack White's Third Man label and here he performs with Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond), Tom Brosseau (of Les Shelleys and his own brilliant solo material) and Willie Watson (formerly of the Old Crow Medicine Show). Taped at Codfish Hollow -- a barn in the middle of nowhere, Maquoketa, Iowa -- this session was recorded much like many of Reilly's favorite bluegrass and gospel records were recorded - in the round, with the players all sharing one microphone. The down and dirty manner allowed for a natural blending of voices and forced the players to react to one another, pulling off these songs of the old-timers in beautiful ways. It was the perfect setting for these songs to experience.