You and I would probably never think of playing Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy” as a bluegrass song. That’s why someone like John McEuen, who did think of it, has had a 50-year career as a groundbreaking roots musician, and you and I are just fans and listeners.
McEuen is about to release a new album of music on which he is joined by some of the top names in American roots music. Not that he’s ever done anything else, but this is a special group, mostly featuring folks he’s known for a long time but not recorded with. Folks like Jay Ungar, David Bromberg (both of whom are on the “Excitable Boy” single along with Matt Cartsonis, who was a mainstay of Zevon’s touring band and who has also made his name scoring TV shows), John Cowan, Steve Martin, John Carter Cash … you get the idea. They’re all on the upcoming Made in Brooklyn.
I’ll be reviewing Made in Brooklyn shortly. In the meantime, here’s “Excitable Boy.” See what you think of this ballad of a teenaged psychopath, performed in laconic bluegrass style by John McEuen and friends.