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At A Glance
Recorded at a mountain studio in east Tennessee and released independently, Garner's is a sound definitely grown from the ground. Earthy, honest and plaintive; Mourning Birds beckons back to the folk ballads of a simpler time and at the same time casts a shadow of unease on its own mirth. Compiled with a handful of friends giving sparse and simple accompaniment to his guitar, Garner's first effort includes six tracks that display the enigmatic range of moods that make this burgeoning songwriter and storyteller a haunted soul not soon forgotten. Songs like 'Bury the Hatchet' and 'June and God' usher the listener into the quiet moments of human longing and the subterranean rage that either break our spirits or make us whole. These stories of squandered love and utter desperation place us as near voyeurs in the midst of lives unraveling and eroding before us. Idiosyncratic yet empathic, the images conjured up by Garner's characters evoke a time and place hauntingly too near. Other songs, like 'They're All Gone', move hesitantly out from the shadows. In his way, Garner captures a glimpse of hope's somber release, the silent joy of discovering that some of life's darker doubts and questions cannot be answered, not yet. Son to a life-long and road-weary Country 'n' Western picker, Garner comes by his music honest. While not too concerned with slaying the forefathers of his genre or recreating the wagon wheel, Joe Garner has been able to move in and inhabit the best sensibilities of a songwriting once known as Country Music, but upon its exit from the country now labeled 'Roots'. May his roots grow deeper; we'll sit and listen.
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