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Ben Weaver - Paper Sky

  by Andrew Carver

published: 9 / 7 / 2007

Ben Weaver - Paper Sky
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD


Gloomy-sounding, but fine new album from Poprtland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Ben Weaver whose music is in a similar vein to Bill Callahan, Richard Buckner and Will Oldham

Ben Weaver is a singer-songwriter in the vein of Bill ‘Smog’ Callahan, Richard Buckner and Will ‘Palace’ Oldham. His latest album, ‘Paper Sky’ will seem cozily familiar to fans of those artists, but Weaver builds his own musical identity on its 14 tracks. On most of the songs he surrounds his sleepy voice with low-key accompaniment: Single-note piano and a dab of melancholy cello decorate his husky singing on ‘In November’, with an occasional female harmony on the bridge; things slide into the Old Weird America on the banjo ‘Like the Vine After the Sun’. Weaver does shift the formula a bit by adding synthesizer to a few songs, most noticeably on ‘Surrealism + Blues’ which also incorporates some playful vibraphone. On ‘Geisha’ he breaks out the electric guitar and ends up sounding like an earlier, slower Steve Earle. Overall the lyrics cast a gloomy shadow – there’s also a lot of rain in Weaver’s songs (then again, he does come from Portland, Oregon, so that may just be the environment he grew up in). Classic themes such as travel appear on ‘Going Down 25’, while the doom-haunted avian of ‘Wings and Knives’ will probably remind a few listeners of Smog’s ‘Blood Red Bird’. Things diverge slightly into politics with ‘The Unelected’, which takes a jab at an unnamed, unapologetic, environment-destroying, war-mongering leader. ‘Paper Sky’ is a good listen from an experienced craftsman.

Track Listing:-
1 Introlude
2 In November
3 Wings As Knives
4 Plastic Bag
5 Like a Vine After the Sun
6 The Unelected
7 Black on Black
8 Down 25
9 Surrealism & Blues
10 Sorrow
11 Frankie
12 Geisha
13 Train Leaves Smoke
14 Whatever You Wanto to Haven't You

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Blueslivinghollerin' (2005)
Highly recommended compilation of material from his past three albums plus some new tracks from gruff-voiced Americana-influenced singer-songwriter Ben Weaver

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