There's a quote I wanted to start this off with. It's from the
liner notes to the Complete Atlantic Sessions box of Willie's that came
out a year ago or a couple years ago. The story went that a man
who owned a club had booked Willie in. He introduced Willie to
the audience on the night of the show and got little reaction.
Willie was a bit of a marginal guy in music back then: not quite
country, not quite not country; maybe he always has been and was, but
it seems people had less of an appreciation for that sort of thing back
then. So the man introduced him and got little reaction. He
introduced him again and got a couple of claps. Then he got angry
and said "He's only a genius, you piece of shits!" That was the
story. Well I looked at the liner notes to the Complete Atlantic
Sessions, and that's not really how it goes, but I'm going with
it. You can take a look and see what really happened; it's not
too far off and probably funnier.
The Reveries are playing Willie Nelson's songs on
this album. They're a funny band to peg too, though I didn't mean
to infer that they're marginal or underappreciated, and this isn't
about whether they're geniuses, either. Doug Tielli said he feels
like the music made itself, in a way. "I just have to laugh
when I listen to it." Yeah, Doug, me too, because it's a wonder!
Now here it seems like a good idea to offer a kind
of key to the wonder of the Reveries, because I'd been hearing and
seeing the band play for a while without knowing what was really going
on with the things in their mouths, and when it was finally explained
to me, the music opened up for me.
The Reveries' instruments go through eachothers'
mouths! I think that sounds pretty nice on its own without going
into detail, but I will. The Reveries play, each Reverie with an
altered cell phone speaker in his mouth (each except Jean Martin,
because "It would make him gag,"), and each speaker broadcasts the
sound of a different instrument that's being played in the band.
Ryan Driver's voice and sometimes the drum machine go through Eric
Chenaux's mouth. Eric's guitar goes through Doug's mouth, and
Doug's guitar or saw goes through Ryan's mouth. The Reveries can
then, by opening and closing their mouths, essentially play eachothers'
instruments, with a sound something like that grating fuzz that was so
popular in grungy music of the nineteen nineties, only not grating and
So there it is. There's one more thing I think
you ought to know, and then that's it. This is the first in a
series, maybe of four, where the Reveries will play the songs of one
artist on an album. Sade, Prince, and Nick Cave albums are all in
the works. Just so you have something to look forward to.
-Anna Linda Siddall