Denison Witmer

Of Joy & Sorrow

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On his second full-length release, Denison Witmer again proves that he knows his way around the standard singer/songwriter song, wrapping nakedly confessional verse around light melodies and laid-back arrangements. As if he's spent the last few years mainlining James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg's cumulative '70s work, Witmer is an almost awkwardly honest lyricist, with his unassuming croon cast as the perfect vehicle for his introspective musings. Commonplace, yet entirely well-assembled, with an impressive cast of musicians contributing bass, drums, mellotron, piano, and backup vocals to flesh out the contemplative din of streamlined autumnal sounds, it becomes somewhat apparent that Witmer's talent as an arranger is outstripping his abilities as a communicator at this stage in his career. And that's hardly a complaint, as his lean folk-pop approach is generally quite engaging, regardless of any perceived lack of punch. Overall, Witmer presents himself as a well-endowed artist who only has to grow a bit to fully develop his considerable gifts.

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