One lovely afternoon in May, nestled in a room of a thousand guitar amplifiers, in the quiet intervals between the racket of a jackhammer tearing up the street outside, Tom Brosseau and I recorded six songs at Daytrotter’s FutureAppletree Studios in Rock Island, Illinois. Now, gentle reader, don’t be dismayed when you see no mention of my name associated with these recordings … I assure you, ’twas me. Tracks 4–5 are duets of a couple very old and very beautiful folk songs, and 6–7 are solos of my own. You must become a Daytrotter member to hear/download the recordings with me on them, but I trust you will not regret your decision … (listen here)
“… [Andru] Bemis, the opening act for the night’s show, provide [sic] an introduction for those who were unaccustomed with the country twang of bluegrass music. The audience waited with hopeful anticipation for the strumming to begin from the slim character peeking at everyone through his wide rimmed spectacles. In his dark fedora sporting a feather-like feature on the side of it, he sat on a wooden chair in his common suit of suave chocolate brown hued pants and matching vest and jacket with a button up white shirt underneath.
Humidity so heavy a light sweat began to commence on the brown of all who watched as his fingers swiftly strummed the chords that ever so slightly began to rapidly take on a new tempo. As he expertly transitioned from the acoustic guitar to the banjo a song about trains began to bring about a new energy from the crowd. Just as a train begins to chug along picking up speed as it churns upon the tracks, the banjo represented those tracks, as his fingers became a blur to rapid beat. A soft, then distinct foot stomp to the beat took over and rose to the rafters as hoots and hollers gave way to their appraisal.
After revving up the drunkenly happy crowd, the main attraction for what they had traveled miles to see finally was upon them. When Bemis asked the crowd if they had ever seen John C. Reilly & Friends perform, it was if crickets were the only response as no one raised a hand …” — Hoopla