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Liz Meyer with Chris Jones - Blue Lonesome Wind

 

Liz Meyer (1952 - 2011) and Chris Jones (1958 - 2005) worked together in Europe from mid-July 1997 through early September 1998. Despite the brevity of their collaboration, Blue Lonesome Wind provides an important missing link to their respective discographies.

 

Before she moved to Amsterdam in 1985 to marry and start a family, Meyer had been a key figure on Washington D.C.’s thriving progressive bluegrass scene for fifteen years. As a fiercely inventive singer/songwriter, she had pushed the envelope yet further, creating her own brand of Americana when the term had not even been coined. Small wonder Liz could always count on the support of the finest musicians in the area, both in the studio and onstage. Her guitarists included legends like DANNY GATTON and Steuart Smith, men whose versatility defied categorization just as much as Liz’s songs did. Shortly previous to her departure for Europe, Meyer and Smith played regularly as a duo in and around Washington. When Liz resumed performing on the European club circuit following the release of her star-studded album Womanly Arts in 1994, she eventually decided to present her music again in a duo setting. The search for someone to fill Smith’s shoes didn’t take her long, as the only serious candidate for the job turned out to be another American expat, Chris Jones.

 

A child prodigy whose influences comprised Bach, Robert Johnson and Ry Cooder, Jones had made Germany his home after a stint in the U.S. Army there. Before teaming up with Meyer, he had already accompanied a host of folk and blues artists for two decades, while also making a name for himself by the often frenzied brilliance of his solo gigs. Obviously living on the edge, Chris’s confrontational streak made him challenge Liz to give the most galvanizing performances of her European career. Since Meyer was not about to be upstaged by her guitarist, no matter how good, she rose to the occasion night after night. Sadly, the recurring personality clashes between shows led to their breakup. However, the strained and increasingly destructive relationship between Liz and Chris may well have been instrumental in creating the riveting music contained on this album.

 

--  Theo de Jong, February 2019

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