Like other Dan Zanes and Friends albums, the recently Grammy nominated House Party was made in Dan's home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where people regularly drop in, tune up, and head down to the basement to record.
It was meant to be completed during a January-February break in touring, but winter became spring, the friends kept showing up, and the tape kept rolling.
The outcome is an hour-long, 20-song tribute to communal music-making and the most sonically diverse example yet of what the Village Voice has called "Basement Tapes for kids."
Dan and Grateful Dead legend Bob Weir reinterpret the railroad classic "Wabash Cannonball"
Angelique Kidjo sings a favorite from her childhood, the Harry Belafonte hit "Jamaica Farewell"
English folksinger David Jones updates the music hall tune, "How Do You Do?"
Debbie Harry joins a fiddle-filled version of the Australian standard "Waltzing Matilda"
Philip Glass plays a portable Billhorn Brothers pump organ on the six-minute original "A Place for Us."
In addition to playing in the live band, several longtime friends are in the mix.
Barbara Brousal's "Queremos Bailar" is a spirited, Spanish-language call to
Cynthia Hopkins, also of the group Gloria Deluxe, leads her accordion-laced "Surrounded by Friendship," and upright bass player Yoshi Waki brings in the Japanese coal miner tune "Tankoh-Bushi."
Rankin' Don (a.k.a. Father Goose), Donald Saaf and the RubÃ Theater Company all make triumphant returns.
Once the lead singer of roots rock band The Del Fuegos, Dan has found his calling creating truly age-desegregated 21st century folk music.
Since he founded Festival Five Records in 1999, the label has released one highly acclaimed, handmade recording each year. The first was the groundbreaking Rocket Ship Beach (2000), followed by Family Dance (2001) and, most recently, Night Time! (2002).
The albums feature a broad range of collaborators-from Sheryl Crow to Lou Reed, Aimee Mann to Sandra Bernhard, Loudon Wainwright III to John Doe-and rank among the top-selling family music CDs.