The September issue of the UK’s Uncut magazine contains a free CD that features a 40th anniversary musical tribute to Bob Dylan’s classic 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. Willard Grant Conspiracy contributes a version of “Ballad of a Thin Man.” Other artists included on the comp include Drive-By Truckers, Marc Carroll, Paul Westerberg, Richmond Fontaine, American Music Club, Dave Alvin, The Handsome Family and Songdog. The issue should be out on US newsstands this month (August).
In more WGC news, the band in its 3-piece configuration played at the 14th annual Guilford Festival (or Guilfest) in the UK in mid-July, along with many “big-name” acts such at The Pogues, Paul Weller (formerly of The Jam), and the Zombies. This is from an Uncut review of the fest:
It wasn’t until later, when Willard Grant Conspiracy ambled onto the Uncut stage, that the day was truly redeemed. There was a brief moment of déjà vu when main man Robert Fisher made the same apology about playing “depressing” music that Lyndon Morgans had the previous day, only this time, there were heckles demanding “happy songs”. These were playfully rebuffed, Fisher cheerfully introducing the first song with the happy sentiment: “Well, this one’s about suicide”. The group sounded more vigorous live than I expected, their sound pivoted on the heavy reverb of Josh Hillman’s viola and Jason Victor’s atmospheric guitar work. The pair created sonic sound-scapes around Fisher’s often tragic, timeless folk songs. Tearing through numbers like “Sticky”, which sound comparatively tame on record, the band also set aside time for their more lo-fi leanings. With the reverb off the viola and the bass guitar swapped for a double bass, the band gave sensitive performances of “The Ghost Of The Girl In The Well”, and ended with the chilling “Ballad of John Parker”. They were, perhaps, the pinnacle of the weekend, and were at very least, the best thing Sunday had to offer.