Withered Hand, a.k.a. Dan Willson, is an
Edinburgh based folk-rock musician. Willson did not start his musical career
until he was 30 years old, after the death of a friend and the birth of his
first child spurred creativity beyond his visual art career. He released many
of the resulting tracks on his firth album, Good
News, in 2011. The album was noted for the honesty and depth in Willson's
lyrics. While he toured, BBC invited Withered Hand to perform a number of live
studio sessions. Live shows have featured a rotating cast of musical friends
who help create space for Willson's songwriting to flourish, though Willson
continues to take time for solo performances. His vocals sound at times fragile
and others firm in their deep emotion. After releasing two EPs, Withered Hand
released New Gods, the eleven-track,
sophomore studio album, in March 2014.
"Horseshoe" opens the album contemplating death, love, and life, setting
the listener up for the rest of the album. The next track, "Black Tambourine,"
has an easy moving rhythm, throwing back to 60s rock. It features guest
vocalist Pam Berry, from 90s US indie-pop band Black Tambourine. "California"
is a lilting rock narrative of the recent past, while "Fall Apart" seems to
draw on memories from long ago. The track "Not Alone" closes the album with a
mournful tone that builds to happiness, perhaps even joy.
- Richard Martin
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