Wages of Hope is a track that attempts to redefine what folk is as a genre. While many listeners would associate this song with traditional artists like Elliott Smith and Devendra Banhart, I feel that there is a robustness and livelier feel achieved by this track. Folk usually fades into the background, while Murdock’s work on Brand New Widow will draw listeners in by innovative arrangements and masterful production.
When I Die is a track that shatters another myth commonly associated with new folk music; that it has to be lead by a guitar. To associate this framework with When I Die is to do the song a disservice; the fullness of the instrumentation allows listeners to continually find new bits and pieces with each subsequent listen. Brand New Widow is a dense title that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways; while it will do admirably in a chill party atmosphere, listening to Butcher Dogs on a Bose will be much more rewarding. The production of Brand New Widow frames each recording with a very tight and cozy style, allowing the listeners to feel as if they were in the same room as Murdock and the rest of his band.
I feel that the late-disc tracks on Brand New Widow are incredibly strong. This ascent begins with Metairie, allows listeners to stretch out to California Song, and Eramun punctuates the ending rather than fading into the night. I would love to hear where Murdock will take listeners on subsequent recordings. Make sure to pick a copy of Brand New Widow up on CD or LP whenever you can, and see whether Murdock will be coming around your neck of the woods. This is what folk should be.
Top Tracks: Wages of Hope, Brand New Widow
Putnam Murdock – Brand New Widow (CD) / 2012 Self / 10 Tracks / http://putnammurdock.com/