WOVEN HAND - S/T - Glitterhouse

When 16 Horsepower decided to put a halt to their career and take one year off on all activities, including live performances and public appearances, the lead singer of Denver's premier country post-rock band David Eugene Edwards seized the opportunity to work and put the finishing touches on his long awaited solo project, baptized under the name of Woven Hand. Shortly after, Woven Hand's self-titled album was officially out and David was already on the road completing a small European tour in which he presented the new material to a rather small but dedicated audience. As it was expected, aesthetically, David's solo effort is not very far from the familiar and much beloved essence of 16 Horsepower's music. The main difference between the two lies in the quieter and more acoustic nature of Woven Hand, where the compositions are left stripped of all the fusion and distortion that comes with the electric sound of 16hp and are overlaid with an emotional layer to which one cannot but succumb. The music is written almost in its entirety by David himself, and he is also responsible for the majority of the instrumentation with the exception of a little help given by Stephen Taylor and Daniel McMahon. David Eugene Edwards's lyrics are as obstinate and emotional as always, but not in the least bit catechizing or predefined as one would think considering David's personal obsessions and strong religious background. Unbelievably melancholic, dark, and at the same time mellow and acoustic, "Woven Hand" is surrounded by a sense of loneliness and sadness, of redemption and guilt, of love and affinity. The cover of Bill Withers's classic tune "Ain't No Sunshine" sends shivers up and down the spine of the listener. I can't imagine how it could get any darker than this. "Wooden Brother" - perhaps the folksier song on the album - reveals in the most immediate way the close intimate ties of American country music and European folk music. Utterly beautiful! Obviously, this album can be appreciated by the Neo-folk audience more easily than 16 Horsepower's discography which showcases a rockier and much heavier sound (the only exception being 16hp's last album, "Folklore") and it would be a shame to go unnoticed. Especially nowadays that albums of such quality are getting rarer and much harder to find. I know I'm not being objective when I say this, but I consider this to be one of the best albums I've listened to in recent years.
A true gem!

John K.
Summer 2002

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