Bluegrass music has had no shortage of funny men down through the years. From Stringbean to Wichita Rutherford, bluegrass fans have been able to enjoy a good laugh along with the music.
Jack Black is a funny man for sure. He’s been through the School of Rock. Now he’s taken up an interest in bluegrass music.
Black’s father-in-law is jazz bass legend Charlie Haden. In September of 2008 Haden released a CD by the title Rambling Boy. The CD includes Haden’s family & friends, and is accordingly subtitled. The CD takes Haden back to his roots of bluegrass, folk, and old time country music. Featuring songs such as Single Girl, Married Girl, Wildwood Flower, A Tramp On The Street, and Shenandoah, the CD features all four of Haden’s children.
The original plan had not included any performance by son-in-law Black, but when he heard the mixes, he took an interest in the instrumental version of Old Joe Clark, asking if there were any lyrics to it. Soon enough, Black had laid down a vocal track to the tune that became part of the finished production.
I wasn’t sure what to expect because I haven’t recorded or really sung any old songs like that before, bluegrass style, but it came very naturally and I cranked it out in two takes.
There was something in the music that I think struck a chord in my DNA. I think I’ve got some hillbilly in my roots. … I’m already practising my square dancing if we play the Grand Ole Opry.
The “friends” part of the CD includes performances by Vince Gill, Dan Tyminski, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, and Ricky Skaggs.
In fact, the iTunes version of the disc includes an exclusive bonus track of Hold What Ya Got, recorded with Ricky Skaggs and his family, The Whites.
The mini-site for the project, hadenfamilyandfriends.com features audio samples and a video introduction to the project, including footage of Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, and of course Skaggs himself.
You can read more about Jack Black’s involvement at this link.