New Moon Hand

New Moon Hand

by Willem MakerWillem Maker

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

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The opening 30 seconds of this album's first track sets up a tone that it replicates for the next 50 minutes. The ghostly, stomping beat and skeletal guitar are gradually joined by Willem Maker's gruff, Waylon Jennings-styled voice, rumbling about life's heavy load. It's a dark, ominous, but not depressing sound that amps up with growling electric guitars on the second track as Maker's lowdown groove thickens. There's an ornery and bluesy thread, somewhat similar to that of R.L. Burnside and his fellow Deep Southern contemporaries, that cuts like a jagged rusty blade. Credit Bo-Keys member Scott Bomar, a veteran who has worked with the similarly styled Jack-O, for production and mixing that keep the sound dangerous yet not as primitive as it might be in less skilled hands. There's also a Tom Waits vibe that runs through the set, especially when Maker strips down to stark piano on the broken "Saints Weep Wine." He's accompanied by sympathetic musicians who include Alvin Youngblood Hart, Cedric Burnside, and the legendary Jim Dickinson, but the album's notes do not delineate who plays on which track, a frustrating omission. Maker stays in his buzzing swamp mode throughout, rocking out like ZZ Top after a long night on the stuttering, driving "Old Pirate's Song," followed by the blustery "Lead and Mercury." The latter is an angry autobiographical song about his near fatal poisoning from the titular toxic elements he inhaled as a young adult because of a tainted environment. Not surprisingly, it's as raw and infected as it sounds, with what seems like Hart's hurricane of a guitar solo twisting with portentous electric piano as Maker spits out irate lyrics such as "stole my youth" for six minutes of intensity that will leave the listener shaking. The ethereal, churchlike ballad "Rosalie" closes out the disc, tearing the sound down to just organ and floating, near free-form guitar. It maintains the menacing mood yet softens the blow as Maker strums in a minor key, stumbling and staggering in the creepy introspective shadows he creates.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/17/2009
Label: Big Legal Mess
UPC: 0895102002218
catalogNumber: 221
Rank: 119630

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