Friday, December 19, 2008

Woven Hand - Ten Stones

Ten Stones (CD) – Sounds Familyre

David Eugene Edwards return, his ancient, funereal voice in tow for the eleven songs, which comprise Ten Stones, the solid, if somewhat predictable new effort from Denver's Woven Hand. He jump-starts the effort with “Beautiful Axe,” which contains the sometimes baffling admixture of Native American imagery and New Testament fervor we’ve come to expect from his band. He engages his dirgelike delivery on the sermonic “Not One Stone,” too, which references Christ’s apocalyptic prophecy of the destruction of the buildings his disciples had admired, so that “not one stone would be unturned.” If there’s one complaint to level against this effort then, it’s that Ten Stones begins to smack of a patented Woven Hand template: ominous vocals, redolent with foreboding religious references sung against raw rock. As if fearing this tendency himself, Edwards does throw us for a loop or two: The album’s riveting centerpiece “White Knuckle Grip” chronicles wild rides and Saturday night carousing via dirty, bluesy Southern rock. Even here, though, Edwards pauses to ask the man upstairs to keep an eye on him. The most startling entry is Edwards' take on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars." Edwards allies his lilting drone to the samba song, modulating his tone, but still infusing it with enough of drama to throw a few threatening shadows across the starry skies.
– Robert Stribley

This review was originally published in Skyscraper Magazine, Issue 29 (Winter 2009)

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