Andrew Connor

Nineteen Now, Always

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Something about Andrew Connor's six-song solo debut creates a relaxed curtain of shuffling sonic niceties. He moves through his songs with such natural ease, a rare feat that gives a welcoming gesture to anyone with a minute to spare, as if to modestly say, "Hey check out this stuff I worked on." The end result is a stunning marriage of high-quality songs, minimal production, and well-executed arrangements peppered with mandolin, lap steel guitar, and various other instruments. Each of which seems designed to fold into a perfect box around Connor's voice, the timbre of which shares a similarity to Red House Painters frontman Mark Kozelek. However, Connor's voice is much more confident than that of Kozelek, and his melodic sensibilities more adventurous. The opening cut, "Giving Up," is a stellar example of this as well as an excellent introduction to the overall sound. Its simple and elegant drum line supports the electric guitar and mandolin as they hook and wind melodic phrases around each other. When they finally meet up and provide staccato rhythmic support, the bass and drums, along with a glockenspiel, lock up on their own terms to create tension that falls into the call-and-response chorus and finally resolves nicely into the coda. 19 Now, Always is a pleasant and rewarding listen all the way through and serves as a nice preface to the work of Ghosty, Connor's trio formed during the recording of this set of songs.

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