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
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.
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