While it's not exactly a new concept, jazz artists have been increasingly mining traditional blues and Americana for raw material. Following his 2013 release Lone Prairie
, guitarist Corey Christiansen
returns to this fertile soil for Factory Girl
(Origin), updating songs that set the template for modern American pop and rock, as well as contributing original compositions that play with these conventions. Christiansen and his quintet goose the Americana songbook with plenty of funk and fusion, teasing out dark edges and recontextualizing the music for new generations. As its title suggests, Factory Girl
, explores songs often associated with the feminine side of folk and blues. The weary and resigned title track grinds along to an industrial groove laid down by drummer Matt Jorgensen and percussionist Michael Spiro, and Christiansen puts a keening wail into his exquisite read of the lament "That I Should Know Your Face." Meanwhile, the folk tales of "John Hardy" and "Old Joe Clark" are at once celebrations and cautionary tales, with Christiansen's dirty tones slicing through thick rhythms laid down by Jorgensen, keyboardist Zach Lapidus and bassist Jeremy Allen. The ensemble heads for the swamp on "Cluck Ol' Hen," our selection, as Allen's dark pizzicato and Spiro's steadily bopping percussion add layers of texture. Christiansen, as did his forebears, mimics the sound of noisy yard birds, but takes the song screaming into the 21st century with sonic creativity.