For those of you familiar with my music, you know that I lean on the side of simplicity with the sporadic surge of complexity. With that being said, one of my favorite artists is Alison Krauss and one of my "go to" recordings of hers is "Forget About It". (Not inspired by Brooklyn, but if you're on the other side of the East River, might as well check it out...it was hipster before hipster was hipster.)
Anywho...Alison is one of those artists who's as close to perfection as you'll find this side of heaven.
The musical point I want to make on this analysis is her sense of phrasing and her band's sense of time. Here are the instructions for today's analysis:
1) Listen to this track one time with no agenda. How's it feel?
2) Now listen after reading about the subtleties I have pointed out and see if you hear what I hear : - )
There is this vacillation between straight and swung rhythms between the band and Alison's melody. The intro is a simple 8th note guitar part. Nothing fancy and pretty even. Then enters Alison's vocals; a subtle swing created by her syllabic stresses and by her 16th note placement, but still, nothing too out of the box.
Page 2 brings us to the last bar of the chorus going into the 2nd verse. Jim Keltner, on drums, makes a strong statement with his floor tom entrance on the last beat before the 2nd verse (1'21"). And here is where the fun begins!
Jim and (I believe) Jerry Douglas (guitar) begin a "conversation" based on Alison's phrasing. I put "conversation" in quotes because of its use in the 2nd verse's lyric. The guitar is landing on very calculated subdivisions of the measure, flirting between the straight 8ths of the original guitar part and the swung 16ths of Alison's vocal. And Jim responds to Jerry's guitar with a triplet bass drum fill after 2 measures of straight quarter note time on the bass drum and cross stick.
The song continues with this back and forth straight/swing feel, all within the wide palette of 62 BPM (beats per minute).
....warning, small soap box rant....
I miss CD, cassette, vinyl, etc...any format that listed credits on an album. Thank goodness for wikipedia.
All that to say, please look up the personnel on this project (and other recordings). It is no surprise why this track has an undertone of "funky". Jim Keltner is a legendary session drummer with credits with Chicago, Booker T. Washington, Steely Dan and John Lennon. And I had the great fortune of playing with Alison's brother/bassist, Viktor Krauss on the Carly Simon tour. I wish I had owned this album when I worked with him. I knew who his sister was (they're practically identical), but was not yet familiar with her music.
Enjoy this bit of bluegrass and funky perfection. (If you read and enjoyed this entry, ask me about my theories on country and hip-hop....closer than you think : - )