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Janet Bean and the Concertina Wire Discography

2003

Dragging Wonder Lake

Thrill Jockey
thrill 121 - 2003
Born in Florida and coming of age in Kentucky, Janet Bean was influenced early in her life by the regional American music Kentucky is steeped in, as well as the punk rock music that gained popularity later. Fans of Eleventh Dream Day and Freakwater will recognize Janet’s name; she both sings and plays drums in Eleventh Dream Day as well as playing guitar and sharing singing and song writing duties with Catherine Irwin in Freakwater. Over a seventeen-year career path, Dream Day have proven to be an iconic and substantive rock and roll band while Freakwater has arguably been more influential than Uncle Tupelo on the alt-country scene. The overlapping voices of Janet and guitarist Rick Rizzo teamed with the remarkable rhythm section comprised of Bean and bassist Douglas McCombs (Tortoise, Brokeback) have earned this musical partnership wide praise for their unique and moving songs delivered over a history of six albums. Freakwater has a fanatical following of listeners who crave their distinctive and literate brand country music. As a multi-instrumentalist, Janet has certainly showcased her talents on her first solo effort here on Dragging Wonder Lake.

With Dragging Wonder Lake, Ms. Bean has created a record that speaks in an entirely new voice. This voice is more assured and open than the vocal stylings she conjured on any of her previous work. Dragging Wonder Lakeis comprised of songs that chronicle personal and allegorical elements from the course of Janet’s life. This musical journal serves as a complete narrative starting on "Wonder Lake" describing a journey from the self-awakening of "Suddenly" to the devastation of "The Purple Heart" and finally to the freedom of "My Little Brigadoon". The songs are superbly crafted with an entirely singular blend of elements. Janet Bean’s artful pop is as personal as it is distinctive; it manages to be at once accessible as well as challenging. The instrumentation and song writing are imaginative, eclectic and certainly a departure from her distinct catalog of recordings. The resulting music sounds like nothing else though is remindful of the singular and personal work of Bridgitte Fontaine.

The Concertina Wire is an outstanding group of Chicago musicians including well-known free improvisers Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) and Jim Baker (piano), and veteran accompanists John Abbey (Bass), Jon Speigel (guitar and steel), and Dan Leali (drums). This group’s range as performers is extensive. Their versatility is showcased from the seventies country rock of "All Fools Day" to the noise and thunder of "The God Song". Dragging Wonder Lake was recorded and mixed in seven days by John McEntire at his Soma Studios. The end product of this collaboration is a remarkable group of songs and performances, which give color and shade to an amazingly telling and gifted songwriter.