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John Scofield - Country For Old Men / JamBands review

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John Scofield's Country For Old Men would be an ideal subject for those blindfold tests where listeners need to identify details of an undisclosed piece of music. No doubt the inimitable blend of staccato blues and jazz fluidity in this esteemed guitarist could be readily pinpointed, as might some or all of his accompanists (who've regularly appeared on his records over the years): keyboardist Larry Goldings, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart.

But nailing the songs the quartet plays here might well be a greater challenge altogether, even perhaps, if you're sufficiently knowledgeable in the country genre to recognize "Mr. Fool" as a George Jones number just by way of Goldings' Floyd Cramer-like piano tinkling. Scofield and company's wry take on Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" becomes increasingly familiar as the seven-minute take proceeds, but the guitarist still only teases the melodic theme to a point within this speedy shuffle.