Ben Weaver

Paper Sky

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Only in his twenties at the time of this release, Ben Weaver smacks of such barrel-voiced, existential depressives as Leonard Cohen and Greg Brown. But even at his darkest, and even at the most weary and plodding pace, there is something lulling and wistful about Weaver's muse. "Plastic Bag" plods along on piles of slow tumbling piano notes and Weaver's deep mournful rumble of a voice, but then, suddenly, he swoops to the upper edge of his range and croons prettily and desperately, adding a whole other dimension to the downer trip. "Down 25" uses the same flourishes, tethering Weaver's lost highway/lost love poeticisms to plucked guitar, spare drum whacks, and his alternating rumble and croon. By contrast, "Geisha" is deep, gutbucket Americana, built on scalding guitar and Weaver's apocalyptic snarl. "Wings as Knives" is similarly dark and dire, with low organ groans providing the musical bed instead of guitar. Paper Sky reveals a new, highly poetic and creative songwriter more than ably staking out lonely terrain that has previously been traversed by such iconoclastic Americana troubadours as Brown and Richard Buckner.

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