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The Ax In the Oak

Ben Weaver

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Album Review

Any songwriter who manages to release six albums before reaching the age of 30 must have a more restless and insistent muse than the average guy, and with his seventh long-player, Ben Weaver's creative instincts continue to push him in new and interesting directions. Weaver has (at least for the moment) set aside the organic, folkie approach of his earliest work for new horizons on The Ax in the Oak, and with producer Brian Deck he's conjured a fascinating blend of spare acoustic music, electronic accents, and an undertow of musical wanderlust that finds room for cellos, organs, distorted electric guitars, and junkyard percussion along with the usual Martin six-strings. Weaver's strong but weathered voice — imagine Richard Buckner after a few more years of smoking — gives this album a firm foundation regardless of where the studio experimentation takes his spare, rugged melodies, and the songs are literate and imaginative stuff, finding more in the nuts and bolts of everyday life and his mysterious, elliptical take on the world around him than most of his peers would ever stumble upon. As a songwriter, Weaver stubbornly refuses to reach for the obvious, which might make his lyrical stance a bit difficult for some to unravel, though if you can't figure out the meaning of "Pretty Girls" and "Hawks and Crows," you need to spend a bit more time studying the traditional male-female relationship. The unpretentious intelligence and skillful wordplay of Weaver's lyrics go a long way towards making The Ax in the Oak a richly satisfying work for grownup listeners, and the imaginative surroundings Weaver, Deck, and a handful of sympathetic musicians have crafted for these songs only make them stronger and more affecting.

Biography

Born: Eugene, OR

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Ben Weaver was born in Eugene, OR, but was raised primarily in St. Paul, MN. With music all around him growing up, Weaver knew that it would be a vital part of his life. The musician dropped out of college after one year and began traveling. This was important for Weaver, gaining the experience he would use to formulate his songs. In 1999, the singer released his debut album, El Camino Blues, on Unit Three Records. The album featured Greg Brown, as well as help from Tony Glover. Weaver then toured...
Full Bio
The Ax In the Oak, Ben Weaver
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