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Are You a Dreamer?

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Album Review

These are the three warning signs of insufferable, gauzy preciousness: a guy who (1) accompanies his light, high-pitched singing with finger-picked acoustic guitar, (2) adorns the cover of his album with a hand-knitted textile of his own making, and (3) titles the album Are You a Dreamer? Denison Witmer has obviously hit the trifecta on this album, and so lowers your expectations to such a degree that it's almost impossible not to be impressed with the results. But really, you'd have been impressed even if he hadn't suckered you with the hand-knit cover art. For one thing, that finger-picked guitar is more complex than it sounds at first; for another thing, his gentle voice never collapses into wimpiness; and for another, Witmer manages without apparent effort the tremendously difficult task of making hugely attractive music generally lacking in conspicuous hooks. For the most part, the hook is just the sound itself, as on the sad and gorgeous "Worry All the Time" and the melancholy but optimistic "Everything But Sleep." When he brings in a full band, the sound is somehow still pretty in much the same way — check the lovely title track, for example. And when he uses sleigh bells, it doesn't sound quite as weird as you'd imagine. Highly recommended.

Biography

Born: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Tagged by many music journalists as one of the most likely songwriters to fill the void left by Elliott Smith in the acoustic indie singer/songwriter movement, Denison Witmer catalogs the experiences of young adulthood in almost painfully honest detail. With a soft and sensitive voice that perfectly matches his laid-back 1970s California pop production and subtly expressive guitar work, he has gone from writing...
Full Bio
Are You a Dreamer?, Denison Witmer
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