Whitman – ‘Dog Rose Gall’ [Review]

Christopher Payne’s latest LP ‘Dog Rose Gall’ takes his achy act as Whitman to a number of new places in the old suburban ghost-towns he’s mythologized over the years.  Following the last long-former ‘White Sunrise’, Payne has moved away from those structural coordinates which tethered him to “folk” as either prefix or postfix, rather following the media of instrumental diversity to define the airy ennui of his weightless song style.  With support from local veterans of Gowns, Clark 8, XBXRX, Evangelista, and more, the disc is populated by trumpet, dulcimer, and Carla Bozulich, as much as Payne.  “Economy Inn” would all but disappear without the stalking step of cello and buzz of viola around the crumbling ceiling; “Exactly What We Wanted,” Payne’s reminiscence of coupling would settle like a stone into depression were it not for the buoyant plumb of double bass; and “Give Up” is merely nervous rambling in anticipation of the electrified crests of strings which crack the surface of the recording like a multi-hued burst of light.  That is of course willfully ignoring the austere wonder of Payne’s stories (and even more egregiously, the tremendous punctuation to end the album, the tragic “For Lisa, 1998”), his humble voice and guitar which duck past so much pomp and circumstance to just speak without need or want.  With numerous similarities to the brilliance of Hannah Marcus (locally, textually, thematically, collaboratively), it seems Payne has really located himself – and this is nothing but complimentary – as a poet with musician friends.  Pro discs come in chipboard folders.  Recommended.

Folktale CD/LP

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