Denison Witmer The Ones Who Wait

Denison Witmer The Ones Who Wait
This ninth all-original collection from the Pennsylvania acoustic balladeer finds him in a fully introspective mood, staring into the void of middle age. Witmer has always done sensitivity well, dating back to 2002's Philadelphia Songs, an album that stunningly captured immediate post-9/11 emotional turmoil. He's gone from strength to strength since then, turning up the volume a bit on 2004's The River Bends and collaborating with Sufjan Stevens on 2005's Are You A Dreamer? Although The Ones Who Wait is a return to simpler structures, it's the sound of a mature artist conscious of using just the right amount of shading. More specifically, Witmer has fully absorbed the lessons from Nick Drake and Elliott Smith he learned early on, combining them with remarkable skill on "Every Passing Day." Conversely, the banjo-led "Influence" and "Two and a Glass Rose" bear the mark of Stevens, briefly casting out the spectre of death that dominates the album. It may be too much restraint in his music that's kept Witmer in the margins, but The Ones Who Wait is a quiet gem that anyone who appreciated the elegiac qualities of Ryan Adams' Ashes & Fire should seek out. (Asthmatic Kitty)