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Palo Santo

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Album Review

It's impossible to have predicted what a large shadow Jeff Buckley would have cast over rock music after his tragic 1997 passing. But as evidenced by a multitude of early 21st century Buckley disciples, all it took was a single album for Buckley to leave his mark on popular music. This is especially evident on Shearwater's 2006 release Palo Santo. The group's third full-length overall sees singer/multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg assume full control of the band, as he pens all of the album's 11 tunes solely on his own. While listening to the album-opening "La Dame et la Licorne" or "White Waves," it's impossible not to automatically think of Buckley — Meiburg's vocals are a dead ringer for the deceased singer/guitarist. Elsewhere, the album's title track sounds like Jeff's pop, Tim Buckley, while Meiburg gets to show his quirky side on such selections as "Red Sea, Black Sea" and "Johnny Viola." While it may not be as plagiaristic as a band like Ours is, it's plain to see Meiburg's chief musical influence throughout much of Palo Santo.


Formed: 2000 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Originally conceived as a one-off collaboration between Okkervil River's Will Sheff and Kingfisher's Jonathan Meiburg, Shearwater continues the tradition of detailed, reflective songwriting set by classic artists like Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen and contemporary indie rock songwriters such as Bill Callahan and Will Oldham. The group began after Sheff and Meiburg had known each other for just a week, with the idea that the duo wanted to make an album called The Dissolving Room. The pair exchanged...
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Palo Santo, Shearwater
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