The Widowmaker – The Wink and the Gun

The Widowmaker is the moniker for Ian Easton, a folk musician from the United Kingdom.   The Widowmaker prides himself on “counter cultural” music.  This, his second album, is a masterpiece of music history.  It is, in many ways, a history of rock all rolled into one cohesive piece of original work.  It’s one of the best comprehensive collections I’ve heard all year.

The class of the album is the third track, “What We’re Doing,” an immediate entry on my songs of the year list.  The methodical guitar is soothing in and of itself.  The Simon and Garfunkel style harmonies over that guitar make for an amazing sound.  It’s comfortable and wonderful in so many ways.  “I never knew you give up this without a fight.  No it’s cool, it’s not right what we’re doing.”  I’m not a lyrics expert, but I’ve got a hunch it might be about an affair.  Nevertheless it captures a beauty rarely found in modern music.  If you told me it was written in 1968 I wouldn’t argue.  That’s not a bad thing, either.

The following track, “Tell Me To Stay” sounds (and bear with me on this one) like the softer acoustic Metallica stuff.  Now that might be crazy to say, but the vocals of the lead singer combined with the dark chords fills an imposing sound.  When the lead singer starts his heavy growling, it truly sounds like it could be off of a stripped down metal album.

“Leave It Out” is another guitar-filled track that is extremely well balanced.  With a blues sound more Credence than BB King, it is the kind of song that sounds familiar.  “Don’t come into my world.  Leave yourself off behind.”  This is what the blues are about; the song expresses angst, frustration, and pain about a bygone relationship.  The vocal quality of Easton fills the sound incredibly well.

“Two Pence Piece” is an incredibly folksy song that could really find itself comfortable on a Mumford and Sons album.  It has some strange ability to sound very British.  The finger-picking on the guitar and the meter of the song contribute to a whimsical tune.  The bridge of the song echoes a traditional piece that sounds like a carol.  “You say that I’m mean but you I don’t mean it you’re fragile and scared like the rest of us.  Get up and come get it’s good ‘nough you betcha it’s more than safe to the rest of us.”  I’m not totally sure I understand what the song means, but it’s so enjoyable and exciting I really don’t need to know.  SO GOOD.

This album is start to finish an enjoyable experience.  That’s right folks it’s a non-skipper.  At the beginning of the review I mentioned that it covers the history of rock music.  It really carries from the roots of blues and guitar-based rock music into the basics of what might even be called metal.  Overall, you’ll consider this a “folk” album.  The ambient sounds captured with layered guitars and world class vocals make this an album worth loving.  Do yourself a favor and listen to “What We’re Doing” and “All This Time.”  Incredible.  Share this gorgeous music with friends!

One Comment Showing 50 most recent
  1. Mike Knaggs

    I have the immense privilege of knowing this amazing artist and even more of a privilege to have jammed out some tunes with him. An amazing album, by an amazing person. If you have not heard his music, then you’re truly missing out.

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