Eric Bachmann & Jon Rauhouse

There's a lot of downtime on a tour. You drive, you load in, you wait to take the stage. There's a lot of sitting, a lot of time to occupy yourself. It was during those moments waiting the new collaborative album by Eric Bachmann and Jon Rauhouse was born. The pair tours as part of Neko Case's band, and while on the road with her last year, they found themselves tossing song ideas back and forth.

"I'd always play stuff I was working on and he'd chime in; he'd play stuff and I'd chime in on his," Rauhouse says.

"We'd always do that," Bachmann says. "So I brought it up to Jon. 'We have these little things we noodle around with. You wanna try and actually organize them and make a record?'"

Rauhouse was game. After a few woodshedding sessions at Rauhouse's place in Lilliwaup, Washington, they headed to Fivethirteen Recording in Tempe, Arizona and cut Eric Bachmann & Jon Rauhouse. Comprising 11 instrumental songs, the record features Rauhouse on pedal steel and guitar, Bachmann on piano and guitar, and a cast of local players on strings and horns.

It's a mellow, thoroughly gentle listen. Opener "Liliwaup" recalls the American Primitivism of John Fahey or Leo Kottke. On "Asthmatic Gypsy," Rauhouse's pedal steel floats over shuffling piano chording. Songs like "JoJo Blanco" and "Scorpion" evoke dusty frontiers, while "Sea House" and "Drunk in Bilbao" drift casually in pools of Western Swing romanticism.

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