Turns Out, John C. Reilly Can Pick Some Bluegrass Guitar

From the Paste Vault: Listen to Reilly perform Americana classics on Aug 8. 2012.

Music Features John C. Reilly
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Turns Out, John C. Reilly Can Pick Some Bluegrass Guitar

Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Muddy Waters to The Rolling Stones to R.E.M. to LCD Soundsystem. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!

Today in the Paste Vault, we’re homing in on the musical passions of John C. Reilly, everyone’s tied-for-favorite Stepbrother. Reilly, one of the better actors of his generation, both onstage and onscreen, is also a talented musician, which isn’t too surprising when you recall his melodious roles as Amos Hart in the Oscar-winning Chicago and Dewey Cox in the biopic spoof Walk Hard (which, believe it or not, earned him a Grammy nomination). In the years that followed, he began showcasing his knack for bluegrass and roots music, traveling and performing with the likes of Sara Watkins and Jack White. Hard to imagine this is the same musician behind “Boats ‘n Hoes.”

In this recording from Aug. 8, 2012, made at Daytrotter’s studios in Davenport, Iowa, Reilly, singer/songwriter Tom Brosseau, and members of Old Crow Medicine Show and Lavender Diamond recorded three deep Americana cuts in the round, allowing their arching voices to meld and their bodies to react to the other performers. Listen to the bouncy, pentecostal “Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down)” here:

This wouldn’t be the last time Reilly and his graced us with their presence. Less than a year later, the quartet returned, their harmonies just as sharp and cascading. Here, they opened with an untitled tune, later named “Wayward Traveler:”

Reilly’s wisely assembled crew isn’t merely built on his own celebrity. For example, listen to Becky Stark, Reilly’s heady-voiced comrade, breeze through a set of breathy piano-pop with her own band, Lavender Diamond:

And finally, hear South Dakota’s own Tom Brosseau perform his soft, heartfelt “We Were Meant to Be Together” alongside Sean Watkins of the venerable Nickel Creek:

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