It might be easy to dismiss a music project from actor John Reilly, but that would be a huge mistake: Reilly is a fine singer, especially when he gets a hold of old-time material, and his guitar work provides a perfect foundation for these church and porch tunes from America's past.
Reilly's eclectic choice of collaborators speaks to his passion and dedication: Tom Brosseau and Becky Stark are no strangers to folk tradition. Brosseau's striking voice was first heard on NPR in 2006 — he performed a Tiny Desk Concert of his own last year — while Stark is a performer and a singer known to many as Lavender Diamond. Her voice fits in sweetly between Reilly's and Brosseau's in a way that recalls her work in the country trio The Living Sisters. Rounding out this home-brewed acoustic affair is Andru Bemis on banjo and fiddle, as well as Soul Coughing's Sebastian Steinberg, who plays upright bass with finesse and humor.
So turn off the lights, blot out the distractions, light a candle or two, and let the glow — and the glow of your screen — transport you to country's past, when singers would all gather around a single mic. This is a band meant to play a Tiny Desk Concert.
- "It's Never Too Late"
- "Wayward Traveler"
- "Rock Of Ages"
- "Blues Stay Away From Me"
Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Morgan McCloy, Nick Michael, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Colin Marshall; photo by Colin Marshall/NPR