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I Am Haunted, I Am Alive

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Album Review

For its first album, Cheyenne was simply Oklahoma-based singer/songwriter Beau Jennings, who recorded this album with a handful of musician friends (including several members of Ester Drang, who had appeared in toto as his backing band on his 2003 debut EP) in lieu of a stable band. Often, such revolving-door efforts can sound scattered and unfocused due to the constantly changing cast of musicians, but I Am Haunted, I Am Alive is clearly the work of a musician with a singular vision. Folk and country influenced (there's quite a lot of banjo here, and hints of steel guitar) but rooted in a low-key bedroom singer/songwriter vibe that will be familiar to fans of everyone from Elliott Smith to Neutral Milk Hotel, the 12 songs on I Am Haunted, I Am Alive have Jennings' hushed, intimate vocals and acoustic guitar at their heart. Indeed, the arrangements often sound like Jennings' backing musicians are adding overdubs to his solo recordings, as opposed to full band sessions, but the added instruments are subtly layered to create a more rich, textured sound than many similar albums have. (The facile rock critic move here would be to mention Jennings' day job as an architect.) The drawback is Jennings' tendency towards self-consciously poetic lyrics and his occasionally awkward, emo-ish vocal delivery, which blunt the appeal of otherwise solid tunes like "I Learned About Drugs from a Textbook." Both of these bad habits were less evident on this album's superior (not to mention louder) follow-up, The Whale, so I Am Haunted, I Am Alive has the feel of a slightly premature debut recorded before the kinks were entirely worked out.


Formed: 2003 in Norman, OK

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Cheyenne is the indie rock brainchild of Beau Jennings, a former architect who launched the band as a lo-fi side project in 2003. Enlisting the help of his friends (and fellow Oklahoma residents) in Ester Drang, Jennings crafted his first batch of bedroom pop songs and released the intimate You Talk Like You've Seen a Ghost EP in 2003. The full-length I Am Haunted, I Am Alive followed in 2005, and its mix of layered instrumentation and mature, melancholic songwriting resulted in several festival...
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I Am Haunted, I Am Alive, Cheyenne
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