Jim Connolly and the Gove County Philharmonic: Time Stops to Visit (PFMCD009)

[Please note: This disc is out-of-print, this page is for archival purposes.]

“But where, after all, would be the poetry of the sea were there no wild waves?”
— Joshua Slocum, Sailing Alone Around the World

The Gove County Philharmonic is:
Sally Barr, violin, vocals on track 12; Kirsten Monke, viola; Ron McCarley, clarinet; Jeff Kaiser, trumpet
Jim Bement, accordion; Bruce Bigenho, piano; Jim Connolly, bass
(Laura Hackstein, violin; Misha Bodnar, cello on tracks 5, 7, 9)

1. Satan’s Square-Dancing Monkey 2:50
2. Time Rides the Ferris Wheel 3:32
3. My Watch Is A Rust Sandwich 2:10
4. Patience Makes the Ocean Blue 10:18
5. Act I 1:18
6. Noodling for Flatheads 3:02
7. Act II 1:56
8. The Watts Towers 5:14
9. Act III 2:01
10. Time Stops To Visit 4:42
11. Camera Obscura 2:18
12. Hi Lili, Hi Lo 3:32
total time: 42:59

All compositions and arrangements by Jim Connolly, © 2002 James Connolly Music, ASCAP
except Hi Lili, Hi Lo by H. Deutsch and B. Kaper, © EMI Robbins Catalog, Inc.
Recorded in Santa Barbara, CA on 2.2.02 and 2.3.02 direct to DAT in Jim Connolly’s living room
CD recording, mastering, design, and layout by Jeff Kaiser



SKU: PFMCD009 Category:

1 review for Jim Connolly and the Gove County Philharmonic: Time Stops to Visit (PFMCD009)

  1. 0 out of 5

    “The music of the Gove County Philharmonic, a seven piece chamber ensemble, reminds me of a scene from the film Fight Club. In it, Brad Pitt works as a movie projectionist in children’s theatre. He splices split-second violent and pornographic images into the movie so they only appear in the subconscious mind of the viewer. While the sweet fairy tale movie plays out, the children cry and scream out for seemingly no apparent reason.

    Composer, arranger, and bassist Jim Connolly chose also to dabble in a bit of culture jamming. His music, a throwback to a folksy Charles Ives and the Americana of Aaron Copeland, is cloaked in a faux-naivete by design. It’s the difference between Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons of the mid-1940s. Disney made cartoons for children, while Bugs and Elmer Fudd were adult insider jokes masquerading as kiddy animation. Connolly makes not so much cartoon music, as puppet soundtracks.

    The disc opens with “Satan’s Square-Dancing Monkey,” a rollicking theme that is repeated throughout. Ron McCarley’s clarinet and Jeff Kaiser’s trumpet mix it up with the accordion/violin/viola arrangements, making for user friendly music. The fidgeting starts when the band expands this concept by playing with the themes. Sweetness is tempered with the oddball sounds these instruments are apt to make. Like their previous disc, “The Circus Doesn’t Stop At Gove” Connolly employs Kaiser to play a Raymond Scott-inspired trumpet. The music climbs the stairs, then the chase come back down.

    Interspersed in between the frolic are sweet interludes by the band and also chamber duets of violin and cello by guests Laura Hackstein and Misha Bodnar. Their “Act I,” “Act II,” and “Act III” are the interlude music between the punch and jazzy show.
    Another wonderful disc by the euphoniously eccentric Connolly.”

    –Mark Corroto, 1 November 2002, http://www.allaboutjazz.com/

    “Kicking off with ‘Satan’s Square-Dancing Monkey,’ the Gove County Philharmonic starts hectically, with a sound that’s kissing-cousin to Charles Ives’s ‘Country Band March.’ Hokey, enthusiastic, rising and swaying like a storm-tossed ship, the performance is faux-naãve, lacking the ‘bad notes’ and drifting tempo of Ives’s ‘County Band March’ but possessing the feel of inspired amateurs playing just beyond their technical abilities. Actually, the Gove County Philharmonic plays Jim Connolly’s music with professional panache. The quick tempos, slapstick squeaks, turn-of-the-century-feel (19th going into 20th), and quirky instrumentation that make the tunes immediately identifiable as American, all make me think the band’s name should be ‘County Fair Philharmonic.’ Featuring Sally Barr on violin (and some nice singing on ‘Hi Lili, Hi Lo’), Kirsten Monke on viola, Ron McCarley on clarinet, Jeff Kaiser on trumpet, Jim Bement on accordion, Bruce Bigenho on piano, and Jim Connolly on bass, the band plays music with enough eccentricity to qualify it as alternative old-timey-something you wouldn’t be surprised to hear on A Prairie Home Companion or on the soundtrack to a film by Tim Burton. But it’s not all silly music.

    ‘Patience Makes the Ocean Blue’ is a beautiful, slow, meditative piece with a singable melody that, as with the other songs on this CD, evoke a feeling of something past and familiar, without ever coming close to sentimentality or any other cloying emotion. ‘Patience,’ in fact, makes the Philharmonic sound like a philharmonic rather than a band, given the occasional rise to grandiosity the song sometimes reaches for, as does the group of six related songs (which lack an overriding title), ‘Act I,’ ‘Noodling for Flatheads,’ ‘Act II,’ ‘The Watts Towers,’ ‘Act III,’ and ‘Time Stops to Visit.’ Acts I-III also feature fine guest performances by Laura Hackstein on violin and Misha Bodnar on cello.

    The surreal is never far away, an attitude toward playing that keeps the band from ever getting too serious. See, e.g., ‘Time Rides the Ferris Wheel,’ ‘My Watch Is a Rust Sandwich,’ and the above-mentioned ‘Noodling.'”

    A beautiful, highly recommended album.

    -Tom Bowden is the Managing Editor of Tech Directions and serves as Contributing Review Editor to The Education Digest. November 2002 Issue, http://www.eddigest.com/


    “The curious want to know: what is Gove County actually like? We know that the kindly and hirsute bassist-composer-provocateur Jim Connolly has put the humble Kansas on the local map by swiping its evocative name for his Americana-cum-new music group, the Gove County Philharmonic. Perhaps it’s time we adopted it as a sister county. A few facts about Gove County, Kansas, a rectangular patch in the checkerboard of Kansas’ topography: “Monument Rocks” and “Castle Rock” are the county’s answers to Stonehenge, as ancient rock formations of mysterious origin; the median house price in Quinter is $59,300; established in 1868, the county was named for a Union soldier, Grenville L. Gove, son of Moses Gove, once mayor of Manhattan (Kansas).

    The big news with Santa Barbara’s Gove County Philharmonic: their second album, Time Stops to Visit… (on the pfMENTUM label) is out, and the group is putting on a CD release concert at Center Stage Theater on Friday. Part of the “Lit Moon Theater Festival,”…It’s the left-of-center culture pick of the week.
    On the new album, there’s a certain affective sonic humility of the recording, done live to DAT, like the band’s 2000 debut, “The Circus Doesn’t Stop at Gove.” With its naturalistic ambience and no fussy close-mic’ing, it sounds something like a field recording from a beer hall or a church meetin’ room in the Balkans or Bakersfield or Quinter, which contributes to its odd charm. In fact, of course, this enlightened mayhem was captured–sans studio polish or post-production-in a living room on the Westside of Santa Barbara. Go figure. The parties involved are violinist Sally Barr, violist Kirsten Monke, clarinetist Ron McCarley, trumpeter Jeff Kaiser, accordionist Jim Bement, pianist Bruce Bigheno, and cameos from cellist Misha Bodnar and violinist Laura Hackstein (of Bela Lugosi infamy).

    Bursting out of the starting gate, the band gets down on a twisted oompah vibe with “Satan’s Square-Dancing Monkey,” the kinetic/chromatic energy and even the title of which reminds one of the great American oddball Raymond Scott. The next track is a lovely, melancholy waltz, “Time Rides the Ferris Wheel” (fitting, in that ferris wheels are lovely and melancholic compared to other more nausea-inducing circus and fairway amusements). “The Watts Tower” is a jubilant, bustling tune with an obsessive melodic motif and bouncing chromatic lines. All of this could convey the obsessive energy of folk art hero Simon Rodia. The title track opens with an ensemble note-, like a group tuning up, and slips into something more comfortable, another easy, folky waltz.

    Generally, the album finds its sense of balance by oscillating between reflective and giddy stuff, with dollops of improvisatory anarchy (as on “Noodling for Flatheads”) and Bartok-y winks along the way. As usual, Connolly never forgets musicality, however light-headed things might get.”

    – Josef Woodard, The Independent, Fringe Beat, 10-3

    Jim Connolly and the Gove County String Quartet (CD, pfMENTUM, Jazz), Time Stops to Visit: Jim Connolly and the Gove County Philharmonic (CD, pfMENTUM, Jazz)
    These two CDs feature contrabass player Jim Connolly playing with the Gove County String Quartet and the Gove County Philharmonic. The String Quartet features Sally Barr (violin), Laura Hackstein (violin), and Kirsten Monke (viola). Interestingly, the tracks for the first CD were recorded in June 2005 and May 2006 and were recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jeff Kaiser (whose recordings we were already familiar with). We were expecting experimental music or modern classical on this release…but were instead surprised at how classic/classical and traditional these pieces are. We have always loved string quartets. These folks are a good example of why quartets are so aesthetically pleasing. Everyone was obviously on the same wavelength during these recordings (made at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California)…and the sound quality is excellent throughout. The second CD features the Gove County Philharmonic…which consists of Sally Barr (violin), Kirsten Monke (viola), Ron McCarley (clarinet), Jeff Kaiser (trumpet), Jim Bement (accordian), and Bruce Bigenho (piano). As you might guess from the instruments used, the music on this second CD is more fanciful and playful. Some of these compositions remind us of Frank Zappa’s later classical pieces. Packaged in what appears to be a simple homemade cardboard sleeve, this album is deceptively complex…ranging from quirky and odd to moody and subdued. We particularly like the fact that these tracks were recorded “direct to DAT in Jim Connolly’s living room.” Both of these discs are superb in terms of both quality and musicianship. Recommended. (Rating: 5+)


Add a Review

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.