Thursday, March 10, 2011

Woven Hand - Woven Hand

David Eugene Edwards, the long-time front man for those remarkable gothabilly rockers Sixteen Horsepower, has taken his loyal fans on a thoughtful side trip in "Woven Hand." The curious but colorful album art may give one a hint that this project is of a slightly different breed than previous efforts. This work features a keyboard-oriented sound that lends the songs a lighter touch to complement the underlying drone. The lyrics are at times David's most spiritual and even sentimental, but what a distressing sentimentality. Yes there is a romantic element here, but this is not a picnic free of dark and threatening skies. David, as always, has taken this chance to do some soul searching, but here it seems focused and thematic. "Blue Pail Fever" is a travelogue of sorts, taking us with him to the uttermost parts of his own journey as an artist, contemplating the sacrifice and confidence of his savior. The inspiration is clear, even in the darkness of his despair. "Arrowhead" is an immediate favorite, asking questions and telling the story of a young pilgrim's progress, reminding us how mistakes often have consequences. Similarly, "Glass Eye" laments human frailty and hubris in the presence of grace. Even more compelling is "Wooden Brother" with its bright but haunting melody, driving this brooding memoir to an intensity that is hard to deny. "Story and Pictures" sounds like the song David Edwards has been working on his whole career long. Boys growing up too soon, repentance coming far too slow, grace burning it all away. "The Good Hand" is similar in its tale of persistent mercy and loving-kindness in the face of death, decay and corruption. The bookends of "My Russia" and "Your Russia" recount personal conviction and promise ultimate sanctification with an intensity and plain sincerity only David Edwards might be capable of producing. The slip and the grip of grace. The project itself is woven together by the recurrent sounds and sonic themes, one of which might be described as locusts on a warm summer's night that take on different moods and intensities as the album progresses. Some songs simply blend together (a technique that drives DJs crazy) an effect that lends the work a continuity that would otherwise be lost. A curious addition here is the cover of "Ain't No Sunshine," one that would make Bill Withers sit up and take note. But the melody line is there and so is the intention. I guess hillbillies can get lonely too. - by Daniel S. Russell, Amazon.com

Woven Hand is former 16 Horsepower man David Eugene Edwards, who plays almost everything on a disc that could sometimes be called bluegrass gothic. Dark and portentous, Edwards broods over his songs, ensuring that the shadows are dark and long. The mood isn't a million miles from a lot of Nick Cave's work, although the acoustic textures (electric guitar occurs sparingly on a few tracks) tend to diminish the impact a little. What's certainly outstanding is his feel throughout, especially on a cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" where the golden orb rarely gets a peek in. "Arrow Head" starts with an Appalachian nod to a Celtic past before heading through as white gospel church, then down the holler to the graveyard, and the striking opener, "The Good Hand," lays out Edwards' musical manifesto with an almost funereal grace. It's good, often very good, but it could have been better if Edwards had been willing to let a few more chinks of light into the hermetic world -- and also a greater variety of instruments. He's a strong mandolin player, but it often doesn't suit the mood he's trying to convey. Still, it's worth repeated hearings. - by Chris Nickson, AMG

Artist: Woven Hand (David Eugene Edwards)
Album: Woven Hand
Year: 2003
Quality: eac-flac, cue, log, artw.
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Runtime: 40:42

Tracks:
1.  The Good Hand 4:10 
2.  My Russia 3:43 
3.  Blue Pail Fever 4:58 
4.  Glass Eye 3:00 
5.  Wooden Brother 5:06 
6.  Ain't No Sunshine 2:54  (Bill Withers)
7.  Story And Pictures 4:54 
8.  Arrowhead 3:26 
9.  Your Russia 4:15  (D.E.Edwards/Stephen Taylor)
10.  Last Fist 4:12 
All compostions by D.E. Edwards, except 6,9

Personnel:
David Eugene Edwards (Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Drums, Keyboards)
Stephen Taylor (Electric Guitar) - 1,2,7-9
David McMahon (Piano, Vocal, Organ) - 5,8

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I'm sure that it will be amazing. There was a time when I used to say that I didn't like country music. That was until I found groups such as 16 Horsepower, Woven Hand, Jay Munly etc. I wouldn't mind seeing more music in this vein posted here. Take care.

    Zer0_II
    http://digitalmeltd0wn.blogspot.com

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