Wovenhand WovenhandThe Threshingfloor
Riding on his black horse (as black as the night and the soul of his songs), David Eugene Edwards, the redskin preacher, is back with another amazing album, “The Threshingfloor”, tucked under his arm. Curses and canticles in front of the fire ( “Raise Her Hands”, or how to be an Indian, in the profound, literal sense of the word, and to raise every last hair on the body of those of us who are on the other side), blazing macabre dances of hypnotic cellos (the sixth cut on the album, “Singing Grass”, is simply spectacular), and a slow wander through the desert (injured and subject to rough riffs of indomitable guitars: “Behind Your Breath” is a pure-blood song), the seventh album by Woven Hand –now Wovenhand, a simple question of spelling– is a step forward (having left a few broken necks and spirits by the wayside: “Terre Haute”) on the diabolical path of the cowboy songwriter who traded his Bible in for a guitar (and the redskin American). He did that, it’s true, without tearing off the rosary from around his neck, so the name of the band makes a direct reference to the act of prayer (quite literally, woven hand refers to the hands joined together in prayer).
The thing is that since he debuted as Woven Hand (then, a one-man-band, and since, Eugene is the one who plays almost everything in the studio - live concerts are another story and there is no choice but to call on acquaintances), after downgrading 16 Horsepower, David Eugene Edwards has found a new vein within Southern Gothic by chopping with decidedly religious machetes (think of Drive By Truckers and scalps and you’ll almost have it). So far he has put out six modest masterpieces (based on spurs, rattlesnakes, and a handful of dusty stories tinged with the old horse-drawn cart variety of mysticism) the greatest exponent being “Mosaic” (2006), his second-to-last album, which was considered amongst the best of the year and an album that is pure church (Gothic, it is understood, or, if you prefer, damned). Little was said of the last album, the very spaghetti western “Ten Stones” (2008), but perhaps it was impossible to surpass something as well-rounded and sombre as “Mosaic”. But what if Dave had done it? And what if “The Threshingfloor” was all that “Mosaic” was and much more? Judging by the headlong gallop of its last cut, the stupendous “Denver City” (the perfect close to the album, Eugene riding off on the back of his faithful pure-blood), everything indicates that Wooven Hand is not only the personal project of the ex-leader of 16 Horsepower, but rather something much bigger. It is Ennio Morricone playing at being Trent Reznor and trading in his leather outfit for a banjo, his dark glasses for a cowboy hat, and all of the asphalt in the world for the Grand Canyon. So let us give thanks to the reverend Edwards for each one of his shots. And especially for this last one.
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