Dan Wilson – aka Withered Hand – made a splash in 2009 / 2010 with his debut album, Good News. The songs set a standard for what was being called either (depending on what you were reading) anti-folk or UK-based DIY (do it yourself). I suppose either genre description could apply, but it almost does a disservice to the brilliance that is Withered Hand. Anthem like sing-a-long songs, some of the lyrics dealt with Wilson’s upbringing in a fundamentalist religion with a wit that never felt negative. Questioning yet full of beauty, these were the songs that I most connected with. Now it is a few years later and Withered Hand returns with music produced by Tony Doogan (Belle and Sebastian) and help from a ton of friends including Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Glo-Worm, The Pines, The Shapiros) and Eugene Kelly (The Vaselines). Leaving the past behind? Not exactly, the new music looks to the future whilst retaining everything that made us fall in love with Withering Hand in the 1st place.
New single Horseshoe is a standout track and a perfect track to release to the airwaves (or Spotify and YouTube). Acoustic intro paired with Dan Wilson’s emotional vocal delivery, the song slowly becomes the best folk-pop single released this year. Wilson has described the tune as “…about love. Not romantic love or sexual love. The other stuff.” One of those songs that will bring a smile to your face and is full of memorable lines like “And just before they knocked me down / did you put a horseshoe in my glove?” and “We can sing a song that never ends”. After adding slightly plugged in elements as the song progresses, it returns to the acoustic lament vibe of the intro, lending the entire affair an emotional resonance. The flip side of the record is Not Another Sunny Day which (contrary to its title) is an uplifting acoustic based gem. The heartfelt delivery of “Hold me, hold me!” is stunning.
You can buy the single from Fortuna POP! on limited edition 7-inch Gold vinyl w/download. The single is the lead song off of the new Withered Hand album, New Gods. The b-side is exclusive to this release and is a must have. Buy the single & the new album, and if you haven’t heard the older stuff – buy that too! Withered Hand is an artist that you’ll fall in love with, and that is a promise.
Verdict: Manna from Dan & Friends
For Fans of: Belle and Sebastian, The Shins, Black Tambourine, Jens Lekman, The Field Mice, Kings of Convenience