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Besides Daniel This Marvelous Grief (2013)

 Besides Daniel — This Marvelous Grief (2013)

Besides Daniel ¤ This Marvelous Grief
Album Notes:
¤  Besides Daniel is an independent eclectic folk band based around its frontman and creative force Danny Brewer. An ever changing line up includes a rotating cast of musicians who accompany with an array of gadgets including sax, cello, violin, melodica, tambourine, banjo, accordion, casio keyboard pots and pans, spoons, stings attached to cans, glockenspiels, digital whatnots, organ, and whatever else is close at hand. Daniel crafts unique folk style songs about friendships, faith, daydreams, romance, and pain. Influences of the band are songwriters like Bob Dylan, A.A. Bondy, Jonsi, Ray LaMontagne, Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, and Samuel Beam (Iron & Wine), as well as bands like Sigur Ros, Radiohead, MeWithoutYou, and Arcade Fire.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Album release: March 13, 2013
Record Label: Besides Daniel
Duration:     68:13
01. This Marvelous Grief     (1:47)
02. Untouched And Burning     (5:17)
03. 10,000 Beautiful Angels     (5:18)
04. In A Heartbeat     (4:31)
05. 1979     (6:10)
06. Grand Canyon     (4:04)
07. Penny Queen     (4:35)
08. Babylon     (5:28)
09. Set Sail     (4:19)
10. Our Life Is Like A Party     (6:42)
11. A New Language     (5:38)
12. The Center Of Georgia     (4:08)
13. Unanswered Questions     (4:10)
14. 20 Winters     (6:07)
¤  Danny Brewer — vocals, acoustic guitar
Website: http://besidesdaniel.virb.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/besidesdanielband
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/BesidesDaniel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Besides-Daniel/15944578189
CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/besidesdaniel22
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/This-Marvelous-Grief/dp/B00BZ190LI
¤  The theoretical, the metaphysical, the hypothetical, the inexplicable, the spiritual, the hysterical all threw a party… they met in the minds of men.  A song is the noise they make.
¤  This Marvelous Grief  is a collection of songs that create a particular landscape of relational brokenness, with ourselves, others, and God. I found this as a thread running through the entirety of this album-a retrospective enlightenment.  I have found these songs to orbit the imperfections in our love and the struggle to forgive ourselves, our companions, our family, and God. The title of this record draws from the incredible crucible of loss that comes to us who have wounded those we dearly love and the eventual redemption of our grief. Exploring both the pain of intimacy as well as the hope for loving ourselves, this effort lays bear the turmoil and joys inherent in relationships. My hope for those who take the time to intentionally listen to this record is that your hearts would be warmed with affection for those closest to you.
Reviewed by  Cameron Barham  on Monday, March 25, 2013
¤  Editor rating: 8.5
¤  “Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, Than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.” — W. B. Yeats
¤  Meaningful art is often born of wrestling deeply with issues of great gravity only to limp to the conclusion that it was all necessary to arrive at the current vista of a scarred but smarter understanding. This is definitively true of Besides Daniel’s This Marvelous Grief, a 14 song Odyssey through the broken fragments of relationship to self, others, family, and God. The beauty of this journey is that it doesn’t wallow in the clichés of hopelessness and despair choosing instead to poetically arrive in the freedom of forgiveness.
¤  Besides Daniel is the musical vehicle of Daniel Brewer, an Atlanta resident, who recruited the various talents and creativities of an array of musicians, his fans through a successful Kick Starter campaign, and the superb production work of Steven Lee Tracey at Glow in the Dark Studios on his most ambitious work to date. Most notable is the backing vocal of Molly Parden as a tangible example of the emotional distance come for Brewer. This Marvelous Grief will draw comparisons to Lord Huron, Bon Iver, Iron and Wine, and Conner Oberst, just to name a few, which, by the way, is excellent company in which to be mentioned. This album deserves such comparisons and should serve as the means by which Besides Daniel garners a similar hearing and audience.
¤  The album begins with “This Marvelous Grief,” a gently muted piano instrumental prelude to the urgent messages that are to follow. “Untouched and Burning” launches the journey with a driving rhythm and the prayer: “We run from want and we want to live, hiding from beauty inside ourselves, but there is a secret inside our chests, untouched and burning, you have put this here, so that we reach for you, But we don’t know how to speak your name, help us to love ourselves”. This gives way to “10,000 Angels,” the saloon-tinged ode to the contradictions of life that ultimately don’t have the power to choke out the beauty of this world. “In a Heartbeat,” my personal favorite, displays Brewer singing in hushed tones reminiscent of the best of Sam Beam as he beautifully harmonizes: “If you were to ask me to, You know I would, In a heartbeat, in a heartbeat.” There are a number of layers to this song that are laid so gently one upon another with tremendous restraint as the song rises to its perfect close. The album reaches its midpoint with folk-genre defying “1979,” another perfectly crafted track, and “Grand Canyon” which recalls the blended stylings of G. Love and Special Sauce.
¤  The urgency returns with the marching “Penny Queen” which displays Brewer at his poetic best as he muses: “We’re stretched between, a penny and a queen, a future and a dream, yeah you are a lover and a thief, I am my pleasure and my grief, and when will it end?”. The urgency lulls with “Babylon,” “Set Sail,” and “Our Life is Like a Party,” which processes the wounds of a past relationship with an almost disembodied fidelity that makes the force of the words no less powerful. “A New Language” finds Brewer confessing over perfectly crafted music and a gracefully embracing harmony: “And I’ll let all these tears change, into lessons learned, I’ll stop hiding monsters up under my bed, Babe, I’ve been so destructive, with these words that I’ve said, so I’ll learn a new language, and I’ll sing a new song, something so happy we forget all that’s wrong.” The album closes with “The Center Georgia,” “Unanswered Questions,” and “20 Winters,” a lament/dirge in the Irish folk tradition that brings This Marvelous Grief to a satisfying conclusion.
¤  This Marvelous Grief covers a wealth of emotional ground in a variety of creative ways displaying Brewer’s gift for crafting engaging songs of significant depth. While you may not be able to make the whole journey in one sitting, it is a work of art worth returning to again and again. — Cameron Barham, March 25, 2013, http://www.theblueindian.com

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