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Woven Hand - Woven Hand CD (album) cover

WOVEN HAND

Woven Hand

 

Prog Folk

3.55 | 23 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
4 stars It's good to see Woven Hand in the prog archives. Nowadays, Woven Hand is a full band, but when this, the debut album was released, it was centered around one person, David Eugene Edwards, who was/is the front man for the alt-country band 16 Horsepower. I always felt that 16 Horsepower was a step above a lot of alt-country bands because they were always a little more daring than most. They ventured in some new territory by introducing gothic and psychedelic elements into their music. Woven Hand was formed because in 2002 when this album was released, 16 Horsepower was experiencing some issues in the band, so David went his own way and made his own album. To me, this has the dark attitude of some of Johnny Cash's darker sounds, but more modern and fuller.

Like I said, it is mostly about him in this album. He is accompanied by Steve Taylor and Daniel McMahon on some of these tracks and this adds a fuller sound to the album overall, but even in the more sparse tracks, there is a lot of inventiveness. Things can sound a little same-y at times on this album, but not enough to make it ever get boring. This is known as neo-folk and it does have progressive elements throughout in that David is not afraid to explore the genre. There is a bit of the gothic element here, carried over from his other band, and it is true that this is dark folk. But there is a lot of spiritual uplift in the lyrics among the dark sounds. It's like a huge spark of hope in the middle of a stark landscape. And it all works so well. Minor keys are used a lot, the vocals are dark sounding, and, except for a few exceptions like the banjo in "Glass Eye" and the piano hooks in the beautiful "Stormy and Pictures", the songs can have a slight drone feeling even though drones are not used. "Arrow Head" has a nice, almost upbeat Celtic-Western lilt but still with that minor key sound. So even with the overall sound, there is still plenty of variety and surprises. Even though it is more of a solo album, it doesn't sound like one.

I love the sound and the attitude on this album and how well it mixes with the folk element. With this band being on the archives, I would not be surprised to see "Fleet Foxes" or "Grizzly Bear" eventually added on the site under Prog Folk, and I have hope that maybe they will show up here some day. Woven Hand is still active and have released several albums since this album. They have incorporated more progressive elements as time goes on and are now a full band. Things get better, but that's definitely not to say that this album isn't great. I still love the starkness, David's voice is perfect for this music, and the clash of the promise of hope against the dark soundscape is very moving and effective. I can't call it essential, that might be reserved for later albums, but I still think this is an excellent album nonetheless.

TCat | 4/5 |

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