December 31, 2006

John Weinland

Portland band, John Weinland, sing and play a song called "Other Folks" on their album, Demersville. Smack dab in the middle of this record is a song that would fit seamlessly on a much older recording called Comes A Time from 1978, this John Weinland song easily recalling the towering talents of Comes A Time's writer, Canadian icon, Neil Young. With the bittersweet pedal steel running beneath the creaky boat of Adam Shearer's vocals, "Other Folks" is brought to a close with the line "... I can feel your breath on the back of my neck, like a whisper from home...". A more than apt descriptor for this song and album, an album which will make you ache and comfort you at the same time... like sitting alone in your bachelor apartment on New Year's Eve 1,500 miles from home, with a bottle of wine, a box of old family photos, and a corkscrew from Value Village.

Shearer, who gives the band it's name (his full name being John Adam Weinland Shearer, perhaps the band is a tribute to a grandfather, or at least, to family. If so, a nice touch), is the primary talent here. His words and voice pull the listener along and inspire the musicians who play on the record, who, along with band members Aaron "Rantz" Pomerantz, Rory Brown, Ian Lyles, and Paul Christensen, include a few notables from the acoustic woods of Portland, Oregon, and they are Norfolk and Western's Rachel Blumberg and Adam Selzer, Blumberg formerly of the Decemberists and Selzer who also plays with M. Ward.

Some have compared the band's sound to Iron and Wine, but I don't follow that, there is a hushed feel to the recording, although Shearer's vocals are much more muscular, more akin to a restrained Howe Gelb with better pitch, especially on track three, "The Letters".

This record won't lift you out of the chair and spin you around, what it will do is seep in like coffee spilled on a paperback book... leaving it's mark and aroma. And I like coffee, but better yet, I love a coffee ring on white paper, it's like an accidental abstract watercolour. So, pour a coffee and listen to the music (the link to buy is below)... and make some inspired art.

other folks [mp3]
whatever it matters [mp3]

Buy the record here, or here, or here.
Myspace page

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