Rick Bass & Stellarondo

by Rick Bass and Stellarondo

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The marriage of four Rick Bass narratives to Stellarondo’s acoustic
accompaniments is a welcome exploration of some serious “what if”
questions: What if the ancient bardic methods still work? What if a
story-teller came down out of the woods bearing a few tales that, over
the course of a winter, had moved from his heart to his imagination to
his tongue? And what if, instead of imprisoning those tales inside a
gewgaw called a “Kindle,” some gifted musicians said, “Hey. Maybe we can help kindle your stories to life”? What if they then discovered
that a cello, a bass, and a pedal steel guitar can give us both the
high winds, falling branches and crowning trees of a wildfire and the
scream of the chainsaw cutting a way through it? What if a mere guitar
and kalimba can convey the otherwise inexpressibly huge feelings of a
young man in love as he carries a canoe, solo, for his lady through a
cricket-song night? What if a lumbering bass solo and lumbering black
bear turned out to be first cousins in the dark cave entered through
the human ear?What if a plaintively bowed saw can become the love an old woman feels for that same bear, and the three together—woman, bear, saw—could audibly explore one of the bardic “thin places” in which mortals come in contact with the deathless, and loss isn’t loss after all?

What if one of the great story technologies of the 21st century
remains the human ear, the unadorned imagination, the heartbeat, and
the marriage of live telling to live music?

- David James Duncan

The Rick Bass and Stellarondo album includes three pieces of short fiction and one essay, all read by Bass and scored by Stellarondo with instrumentation including pedal steel, cello, banjo, double bass, musical saw, various guitars and found objects. Rick and the band recorded the album live, sitting in a circle at Type Foundry in Portland, Oregon in April 2012 with engineers Adam Selzer (M. Ward, Laura Gibson, The Decemberists) and John Askew (Richmond Fontaine, The Dodos, Portlandia).


released November 20, 2012

The Canoeists
Gibson Hartwell - electric guitar
Bethany Joyce - Wurlitzer, cello
Caroline Keys - Bloogle resonator, kalimba
Travis Yost - double bass
Rick Bass - vocal

The Windy Day
Gibson Hartwell - guitar, cigar box oscillator, octave mandolin
Bethany Joyce - cello
Caroline Keys - banjo head, tenor archtop guitar, bicycle fork with key rings, cigar box oscillator
Travis Yost - double bass, snare drum, bass drum, cigar box oscillator
Rick Bass - vocal

Travis Yost - double bass
Caroline Keys - banjo
Rick Bass - vocal
Gibson Hartwell - pedal steel
Bethany Joyce - cello

The Bear
Travis Yost - double bass
Caroline Keys - archtop guitar
Gibson Hartwell - pedal steel, railway detritus
Bethany Joyce - saw, cello



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Stellarondo Missoula, montana

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