Ben Weaver is a folk/Americana songwriter, guitarist and singer with a rough sing/say voice that brings to mind the younger John Prine, a sly growl perfectly suited to his downbeat tales of lost love and hopelessness. He has a gift for startling images and melodies that stick in your mind after a single listen. "I'm not gonna give you what you want to hear," he warns on "Voice in the Wilderness," a girl-you-better-not-love-me song that rises above the usual clichs of the genre with its churchy organ and tin can percussion. "40 Watt Bulb" limps along on a disjointed spraying of images making it hard to tell if he's begging for absolution or rejoicing in his agony. There's nothing uplifting or edifying here, but it's honest, like a kid pulling a scab off a swollen knee. Somehow Weaver achieves a sullen state of grace that's bracing and illuminating in its own dark way.
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