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Available Light

Willy Porter

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Album Review

Willy Porter has been working the singer/songwriter circuit for a good 16 years now, being picked up and traded between major and independent record labels and building a strong following among the demographic that considers Michael Hedges and Rickie Lee Jones superstars. On Available Light he shows himself equally capable of gritty contemplation ("Available Light"), sturdy but unaggressive folk-rock ("Loose Gravel," "Reveal"), and good-humored, technically impressive instrumentals ("Hairball," the faintly jungle-influenced "Where Are My Keys?"). He's also capable of instrumentals that are pretty without being very substantive ("Sleepy Little") and of songs that gently and unexpectedly break your heart ("One More September"). His bandmembers are so good that half the time you don't notice they're there, but they build an atmosphere like a thunderhead on the title track, and they turn "Where Are My Keys?" into a richly textured layer cake of tones and rhythms that manages to showcase Porter's acoustic guitar without drowning it.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Like Greg Brown, John Hammond, Leo Kottke, Stephen Fearing, Richard Shindell, Kelly Joe Phelps, and so many others, Willy Porter is often at his strongest as a solo act. He does work with a band periodically, but given the economics of touring in recent years, he seems to perform more frequently accompanying himself with guitar and mandolin. Porter honed his chops the natural way, busking across Europe and playing every little coffee house and dive bar on both sides of the Mississippi. He's a veteran...
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Available Light, Willy Porter
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