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Listening to Ben Weaver’s sixth album, The Ax in the Oak, is like seeing a train light in thick, black fog. Produced by Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine), Weaver delivers a candid and organic album deep-rooted in folk with a wisdom bordering that of Lou Reed. Neglecting intricate rhythms, he instead opts for simplicity with lyrics that were seemingly scribbled in an old moleskin journal. The Ax in the Oak is an uncompromising raw legacy of both turmoil and redemption.

With delicate lyrics that hinge on poignant memories, he performs as an Edgar Allan Poe of music taking his listener on an ethereal journey through sorrow and liberation. His voice is coarse and suitably fits the lyrics that promote a reevaluation of the ignorant and all too easy lifestyle that is so easy to get trapped in. His clarity and raw love override the rest of the political and societal inadequacies that one accepts on a day-to-day basis. The angsty realism is foiled by rustic rhythms and a tantalizing melody that culminate into a coming-of-age passage, politically and emotionally. (Bloodshot Records) –Eliza K. Johnston