Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Listener Releases New Album: Wooden Heart



In Spring 2008, my friend Cameron had a very interesting musical artist named Listener perform at Sozo, the coffee house some friends and I got started in downtown Morgantown back in 2007. The video above is one of his. Oh, and the washing machine that the guy is beating for percussion in the video is actually used for percussion when the artist performs live. It's a very unique and unnerving and unforgettable sound to hear a washing machine getting beat with a baseball bat or sledgehammer handle.

Anyway, Listener has a new album that's getting released on July 6th. It's called Wooden Heart, and it's an album that demands that you listen to it in an undistracted place (as are all of listener's albums). He allowed me to listen to an advance copy so I could write a review of it. Listener has created his own unique genre and calls it "talk music." It's an eclectic mix of elements of rap, spoken word, and poetry. In the background of his songs is an array of instruments that serve to accent the mood of each song.

The album is really a bargain. The album is over one hour long, and consists of each song being performed as a poem as well as a "song." Listener is a brilliant poet and writer, and I appreciate his wit and way with using words to create images and mixed metaphors that leave me as a fellow "listener" contemplating the hurts and hopes we all seem to carry in this world. One of the things I like the most about the album is that each song seems to tell a story from Listener's own life experience. He tells stories of people with broken lives whose paths have crossed his and as I listened, I found myself growing in my own empathy and care for the hurts of others...and myself. I feel like Listener's songs remind us that everyone has a story that needs to be told, and that everyone needs to learn to listen better, and tell better stories. And one of the greatest stories we could tell is one of love.

Listener's music is for everyone, though not everyone will enjoy it. I wish there were an artist I could compare him to, but he is truly one of a kind. If you ever get a chance to hear him perform in concert, definitely take advantage of the opportunity. He's touring the country and playing at cornerstone this summer--if you will be there, check out his music and say hello!

If you follow the links and visit his site, you can listen to his album online and make a decision on making a purchase. If you like music that is a little off the well trodden path of sappy metaphors and overused clich├ęs, I think you will enjoy listener's latest album. And you are already a Listener fan, leave a comment and let others know what you like about his music.

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