STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 139445-20661 LABEL: Asthmatic Kitty AKR111 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Pennsylvania's singer/songwriter Witmer has down the years made some impressive appearances at Greenbelt as well as releasing a shoal of fine albums. Now with the help of Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty Records, this eponymous release is possibly his finest ever. It brings together all the factors that make his work so appealing, from his intricately finger-picked acoustic guitarwork to a wistful vocal delivery that sits somewhere between Paul Simon and Nick Drake whilst peppering proceedings with evocative poetic imagery and the famed Sufjan on piano. Witmer is careful to keep specific references to any personal faith safely tucked away and the overall tone is one of melancholy without the morose self pity found in the work of other similar but less skilled singer/songwriters out there today - the controlled introspection of "Constant Muse" and "Made Out For This" being cases in point. In fact, the likes of "Keep Moving Brother, Keep Moving Sister" and the opener "Born Without The Words" are ultimately songs of hope whilst the stunningly intimate "Take More Than You Need" and "Right Behind You" are love songs that uplift rather than depress. Elsewhere, a cover of Bry Webb's "Asa" and the mantra-like "Take Yourself Seriously" (which sites mystical writer Rilke's 'Letters To A Young Poet' as its inspiration) round off an admittedly spiritually vague but nonetheless exceptionally beautiful album.
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