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Wooden Wand - "Alpha Dawn" (stream) (PopMatters Premiere)

Wooden Wand's James Jackson Toth releases his new album, Farmer's Corner, in May on Fire Records

Farmer's Corner, the upcoming record from James Jackson Toth's project Wooden Wand, is also the first self-produced record in the Wooden Wand catalog. No wonder, then, Toth sounds so much at home, so much like himself on this record. Nowhere is that clearer than on excellent album opener "Alpha Dawn". It's a guitar-and-voice number, built around dusty acoustic and the sweet croak of Toth's voice, but it's also surrounded by melting textures, stringed instruments and atmospheric hues that spread this lonesome sound out into something larger than it seems. The song, and the record as a whole, is sparer than recent Wooden Wand records like Blood Oaths of the New Blues and Wooden Wand & the World War IV, but it's got a similar bittersweet expansion to it. For an artist always fitfully changing, Toth seems to have found a sonic home on these past few records, and that uneasy comfort is clear on "Alpha Dawn". And yet, even when he finds home, Toth is still restless and wandering in fruitful ways.

Farmer's Corner is out May 6 on Fire Records.

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