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John Scofield brings his modern sounds in country

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Tuesday September 20, 2016

From The Philadelphia Inquirer

Jazz guitarist John Scofield brings his modern sounds in country and western to Ardmore
By: Shaun Brady

At the same time that a young John Scofield was learning his first guitar licks, the country and rock music worlds were bleeding over into one another. In the late 1960s and early ’70s, bands such as Poco and the Byrds were bringing country and folk influences into rock, while outlaw artists such as Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings were shaking up the country scene with a rock-and-roll look and attitude.

A rock fan long before he discovered jazz, Scofield couldn’t help but soak in some of those country sounds, too. “The ’60s was this great, all-embracing hippie time,” he recalled. “It was, ‘Everything’s good, man.’ You’d listen to Ravi Shankar and John Coltrane and Buck Owens.”

Even as he became renowned as a jazz guitarist, first as a member of Miles Davis’ groundbreaking electric bands and then through a wide-ranging solo career, Scofield never forgot the lessons of his open-eared youth. Over the last few decades he’s regularly crossed over into rock and jam-band territory, playing with the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, Medeski Martin & Wood, and Gov’t Mule, while occasionally incorporating elements of those genres as well as soul, hip-hop and electronica into his own music.

Now he’s exploring the country music that he heard during those formative years for the first time with his new album, Country for Old Men.

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