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Woven Hand
Ten Stones
Sounds Familyre
www.soundsfamilyre.com


The last thing I'd heard by David Eugene Edwards was what I believe was the final 16 Horsepower release: Folklore. Since then, I hear he's released a handful of albums under the Woven Hand name, but from a vocal perspective, too many of these songs sound like they were written for Folklore with some buzzing guitars and reverb layered over the top. Long gone are the days of Sackcloth 'n' Ashes, and well, that's a shame in my book. It's still the best thing he's ever done, and subsequent releases keep reinforcing that assertion. The versatility and range he displayed in that album had me thinking there must be at least 3 or 4 more great albums locked up inside his head. Edwards may be the most famous of the Denver Gentlemen, but I dare say he isn't the most inventive.

There are moments of good song writing in here, but their derivative nature keeps me wanting, waiting for him to break into a new direction. The oppressive mood is also hard to take when each song has roughly the same pacing, the same guitar signatures, and the same sense of indolent woe. That said, "White Knuckle Grip" and "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" are welcome breaks, particularly the latter which showcases Edward's unexpectedly rich and soulful voice that has been too often masked by a husky whisper or a hellfire yell.

Now, sometimes I'm a little harsh on artists that I've developed certain expectations of. OK, not sometimes, but rather, a lot. Ten Stones is still a decent album, but it's hard to get excited by an artist that seems to have peaked too early. There's still plenty here for the die-hard fans, and I think they will be appeased, but us die-hard critics are more often hard to please.

-JD

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