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Peter and the Wolf

Lightness

(Workers Institute; US: 31 Oct 2006; UK: 8 Jan 2007)

I’ve been putting this off for ages, after seeing Red Hunter’s puzzling set at CMJ and feeling that there was already maybe one too many willfully eccentric freak folkers wending his costumed, ethnic-instrumented way through the cosmos.  But, look, where the show was precious—with a masked girl stretching luxuriously and fellow travelers tapping out rhythms with quarters on beer cups—the record Lightness is full of actual songs.  Quite lovely songs, in fact.  Consider blues-folky “Anna Maria”, a love letter penned by a guy who lost his telephone somewhere in Arizon…and is not afraid to whistle if the spirit moves him.  Or take with a grain of salt the tongue-in-cheek tour song “Dear Old Robyn,” perhaps commemorating P&tW’s sailing tour with Jana Hunter.  It’s got slyly funny lyrics, delivered deadpan, like “My friends say I’m bipolar/ My friends are sometimes wrong.”  The two best cuts come last, in the old-time-y, soft swing of “Silent Movies” and the slow-picked, chorally harmonized gorgeousness of the title cut.

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