The Ax in the Oak

The Ax in the Oak

by Ben WeaverBen Weaver


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Any songwriter who manages to release six albums before reaching the age of 30 must have a more restless and insistent muse than the average guy, and with his seventh long-player, Ben Weaver's creative instincts continue to push him in new and interesting directions. Weaver has (at least for the moment) set aside the organic, folkie approach of his earliest work for new horizons on The Ax in the Oak, and with producer Brian Deck he's conjured a fascinating blend of spare acoustic music, electronic accents, and an undertow of musical wanderlust that finds room for cellos, organs, distorted electric guitars, and junkyard percussion along with the usual Martin six-strings. Weaver's strong but weathered voice -- imagine Richard Buckner after a few more years of smoking -- gives this album a firm foundation regardless of where the studio experimentation takes his spare, rugged melodies, and the songs are literate and imaginative stuff, finding more in the nuts and bolts of everyday life and his mysterious, elliptical take on the world around him than most of his peers would ever stumble upon. As a songwriter, Weaver stubbornly refuses to reach for the obvious, which might make his lyrical stance a bit difficult for some to unravel, though if you can't figure out the meaning of "Pretty Girls" and "Hawks and Crows," you need to spend a bit more time studying the traditional male-female relationship. The unpretentious intelligence and skillful wordplay of Weaver's lyrics go a long way towards making The Ax in the Oak a richly satisfying work for grownup listeners, and the imaginative surroundings Weaver, Deck, and a handful of sympathetic musicians have crafted for these songs only make them stronger and more affecting.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/12/2008
Label: Bloodshot Records
UPC: 0744302015620
catalogNumber: 156
Rank: 200696

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