Used as an adjective, this is said of cheese that is produced in the traditional manner, on the farm, with fresh, unpasteurized milk. This kind of cheese generally has a richer, stronger, and more unpredictable taste than the industrially produced 'cheese' you find in most places.

The European Community intends to outlaw the use of 'raw' milk in cheese for hygienic reasons, thereby eliminating the purpose of farmhouse cheese making. This raises a moral dilemma: should we, in an effort to protect our health, eliminate things that make life worth living?

This Phish album is the group's 2000 studio project. It was recorded from October 1999 through February of 2000, in a studio called "The Barn" in Vermont--possibly the origin of the title. It may also be the "Dave O's Farmhouse" credited in The Story of the Ghost's liner notes. The album features a heavier dose of guest musicians than any album besides Hoist, and was recorded and mixed by John Siket, who made some of their more recent albums come out so well. Steve Lillywhite's name is absent from the credits--hallelujah.

The album features some pop tunes that could evolve into long jams live, but it really feels like Billy Breathes without the sycophantic need for a top 40 single--the Billy Breathes Phish wanted all along, perhaps. The sound is introspective and light, never the runaway college sound from Lawn Boy or A Picture of Nectar. It dabbles in country for The Inlaw Josie Wales and Back on the Train, but not the mocking bluegrass of Scent of a Mule--a more respectful stance that shows Trey Anastasio's quest for something to fill out the band's sound. In addition to borrowing some of the brass players from Hoist, Béla Fleck comes back. There's a dobro player, a viola, a cello, and a pair of violins. Like Led Zeppelin getting back to Bron Yr Aur to record Led Zeppelin III, Phish flavors the recording with the character of the recording space.

Bug, Dirt, Sand, and Sleep could have been on the second disc of Billy Breathes and fit right in, if such a disc had ever existed. The contemplative feel, the gentle virtuosity of Page McConnell's piano, and the lyrics that genuinely evoke feeling (and not just mood by association) all make these songs great background music for a quiet evening at home. Trey Anastasio seems to have mellowed on this album: his guitar playing and more laid-back groove, as well as the songwriting, all remind me of the way Eric Clapton's music aged with him.

This album isn't for high school kids. Well... maybe it is for the kind of high school kids we get here at E2. If you feel older than your body, if you're amazed by the little things, and if Phish's antics and silliness are starting to wear on you and you're finally ready for them to just make some more great music, pick up Farmhouse. After Hoist and Billy Breathes, it's like going from Disney's Snow White to reading Lord of the Rings: they're both undeniably great works of entertainment and art, but you'll know and appreciate the difference immediately.

Hampton Comes Alive-=%{Farmhouse}%=-Back to Phish's First Album

Farm"house`, n.

A dwelling house on a farm; a farmer's residence.


© Webster 1913.

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