Reviewed by David Faulkner
Denison Witmer has been releasing CDs since the late 1980s. His ninth, here, was initially released in 2011 but was picked up for distribution by Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty label in 2012, and the music isn't that far from Stevens' own indie-folk style - albeit less quirky and jaunty. His supporting musicians come from similar left-field backgrounds, having played with Bon Iver, Rufus Wainwright and the jazz-influenced Melody Gardot and Norah Jones. This album is deeply personal, reflecting Witmer's marriage, entry into fatherhood and - most poignantly - the death of his father ("Every Passing Day", "I Live In Your Ghost"). For much of the album, Witmer seems to follow T-Bone Burnett's famous principle of singing about what he sees from the light, rather than singing about the light itself. Those who require name-checks for God will find them on "One More Day" and "Cursing". However, the latter expresses the pain of his bereavement to God. While on first listen Witmer's voice is gentle to the point of bland, this is a recording that repays multiple listens that open up the subtleties that are quietly present. It's a delightful release, and one can only hope that Asthmatic Kitty's involvement might lead to it getting some mainstream recognition. If you like Josh Rouse, give this a listen.
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