Wed, Jun. 3, 9pm EDT - 'Good News' by Withered Hand

Good News is the most recently released album to appear in the "Album Night" series thus far, and is actually only the second one to be released in this millennium (The Friends of Rachel Worth being the other).  

When I first heard this album a couple of years ago I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.  I must admit that despite being a present day songwriter and musician, I am generally unimpressed with the mainstream recorded music of today.  This debut album by Withered Hand (the solo effort of Dan Wilson) is a real nice breath of fresh air and is proof that there is still captivating music out there if you are willing to dig past all that is being shoved down your throat.

The album starts off with "Providence", a song that feels as if it could easily be the closing track.  Instead, as the first track, it sets the tone for what follows.  Throughout the ten tracks of Good News, the lyrics weave through questions of life, the state of the present times, the merits and influence of religion, relationships, sex, masturbation and the memories of youthful innocence.  Musically, through elegant banjos, guitars and harmonies, many of the songs simply feel like they just float, only making the religious overtones even more meaningful and poignant.  Although Wilson uses crude language at times, the lack of hatred or animosity behind it prevents it from being offensive.  It is simply another color used to paint the images of his songs and the feelings that run within them.  Although two songs ("Joy" and "Hard-on") are covers, it is still Wilson's gentle singing and lyrics that bring the album to life.  When he leaves you off with "For the Maudlin", you'll feel better for it and will undoubtedly be eager for another dose of Good News.

Wednesday, June 3rd "Album Night" roars back into this millennium with the 2009 release of Good News by Withered Hand.  I hope you can join!

102 comments

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Welcome everyone to another installment of "Album Night"! Before we begin tonight's event, here is my usual, but important, reminder: ***Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own.*** Thank you for joining "Album Night". I hope you have a great listening experience!

    Welcome everyone to another installment of "Album Night"!

    Before we begin tonight's event, here is my usual, but important, reminder:
    ***Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own.***

    Thank you for joining "Album Night". I hope you have a great listening experience!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Here are a few links for tonight's event, with the first one being Withered Hand's site: http://witheredhand.com http://www.scotsman.com/news/album-review-withered-hand-1-774711 http://www.absolutelykosher.com/profile/withered-hand And here are a couple of links for the lyrics. Unfortunately I could not find one website that contained them all. For the first link you must scroll down to see the album 'Good News': http://www.metrolyrics.com/withered-hand-albums-list.html http://songmeanings.com/artist/view/songs/137438991658/

    Here are a few links for tonight's event, with the first one being Withered Hand's site:
    http://witheredhand.com
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/album-review-withered-hand-1-774711
    http://www.absolutelykosher.com/profile/withered-hand

    And here are a couple of links for the lyrics. Unfortunately I could not find one website that contained them all. For the first link you must scroll down to see the album 'Good News':
    http://www.metrolyrics.com/withered-hand-albums-list.html
    http://songmeanings.com/artist/view/songs/137438991658/

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    We'll be kicking off in less than 10 minutes. Is anyone else out there yet?

    We'll be kicking off in less than 10 minutes. Is anyone else out there yet?

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Btw, I know this album is available on Spotify (and I'm sure many other streaming sites) if you do not actually own a copy of the album.

    Btw, I know this album is available on Spotify (and I'm sure many other streaming sites) if you do not actually own a copy of the album.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Hi John, looking forward to tonight's listening. This is an artist that seems to have come out of nowhere with a unique and fully developed sound.

    Hi John, looking forward to tonight's listening. This is an artist that seems to have come out of nowhere with a unique and fully developed sound.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Testing testing. Seems like my comments are posting.

    Testing testing. Seems like my comments are posting.

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah I'm here. Hello!

    Yeah I'm here. Hello!

  • John T

    John T NY

    Ok - working fine now.

    Ok - working fine now.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I'm here as well, seeing all the comments coming through!

    I'm here as well, seeing all the comments coming through!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Welcome aboard guys. This could be a 'John' only event tonight... We'll see. I know a few other non-John's said they were going to try to join. But glad to have you guys on board. We'll be kicking off in about a minute

    Welcome aboard guys. This could be a 'John' only event tonight... We'll see. I know a few other non-John's said they were going to try to join. But glad to have you guys on board. We'll be kicking off in about a minute

  • John C

    John C

    Will this be a John-only conversation? Haha

    Will this be a John-only conversation? Haha

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    It's looking that way. 4 of us so far...

    It's looking that way. 4 of us so far...

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Good News' by Withered Hand. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

    "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Good News' by Withered Hand. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

  • John C

    John C

    Nice intro to Providence...nice rhythm

    Nice intro to Providence...nice rhythm

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I like how fragile his voice seems sometimes, like when he tries to hit the high notes

    I like how fragile his voice seems sometimes, like when he tries to hit the high notes

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T- circling back to your earlier thought. I agree. Not sure where Withered Hand popped out of but I consider this one of the best "new" albums I've heard in a while. There's a bit of an interesting back story to Dan Wilson in one of the links I posted above

    John T- circling back to your earlier thought. I agree. Not sure where Withered Hand popped out of but I consider this one of the best "new" albums I've heard in a while. There's a bit of an interesting back story to Dan Wilson in one of the links I posted above

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah...Absolutely Kosher Records is an indie California label. Nice!

    Yeah...Absolutely Kosher Records is an indie California label. Nice!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I love the way the song just seems to float. Not sure who's doing the harmonies but it adds a lot.

    I love the way the song just seems to float. Not sure who's doing the harmonies but it adds a lot.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I didn't know that. Interesting tidbit John C

    I didn't know that. Interesting tidbit John C

  • John T

    John T NY

    His rather unusual voice make you focus on the lyrics while the music moves along at just the right pace. I can't decide if this Providence is a sad song or a song of enduring love.

    His rather unusual voice make you focus on the lyrics while the music moves along at just the right pace. I can't decide if this Providence is a sad song or a song of enduring love.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I like to think that the lyric in Cornflakes "John Harvey Kellogg doesn't want me for a sunbeam" is a reference to the Vaselines song "Jesus Doesn't Want me for a Sunbeam" that Nirvana famously covered, but I believe even that song is based on an old church hymn

    I like to think that the lyric in Cornflakes "John Harvey Kellogg doesn't want me for a sunbeam" is a reference to the Vaselines song "Jesus Doesn't Want me for a Sunbeam" that Nirvana famously covered, but I believe even that song is based on an old church hymn

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Interesting point John T. I can't decide either. Regardless of the lyrics, all of the songs seem to have that sombre feeling

    Interesting point John T. I can't decide either. Regardless of the lyrics, all of the songs seem to have that sombre feeling

  • John T

    John T NY

    I'm not sure what Cornflake is about but the it seems so personal that it is easy to relate to - if that makes any sense. He is a very complex artist.

    I'm not sure what Cornflake is about but the it seems so personal that it is easy to relate to - if that makes any sense. He is a very complex artist.

  • John C

    John C

    Wikipedia says the record was funded by the Scottish Arts Council, which is the direct purpose of the council- to fund and promote the Scottish arts.

    Wikipedia says the record was funded by the Scottish Arts Council, which is the direct purpose of the council- to fund and promote the Scottish arts.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    yeah Baby John, I wondered that too. Admittedly I had to look up who John Harvey Kellogg was and than the song made more sense to me.

    yeah Baby John, I wondered that too. Admittedly I had to look up who John Harvey Kellogg was and than the song made more sense to me.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Wow - that's a good reference Baby John. I would never have known.

    Wow - that's a good reference Baby John. I would never have known.

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah Baby John I thought of 'Jesus Doesn't Want...' too.

    Yeah Baby John I thought of 'Jesus Doesn't Want...' too.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Btw, Baby John, interesting that he mentions Nirvana in this song. Guess he wasn't too fond of them if he's asking why they bothered to play there. Not sure if that strengthens or weakens the connection with Sunbeam

    Btw, Baby John, interesting that he mentions Nirvana in this song. Guess he wasn't too fond of them if he's asking why they bothered to play there. Not sure if that strengthens or weakens the connection with Sunbeam

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Love in the Time of Ecstacy just sounds like an indie hit to me, I don't know how he doesn't have a bigger following. I feel like this could stand next against bigger indie groups like The Decemberists and hold its own.

    Love in the Time of Ecstacy just sounds like an indie hit to me, I don't know how he doesn't have a bigger following. I feel like this could stand next against bigger indie groups like The Decemberists and hold its own.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Love in the Time of Ecstasy (a reference to the book Love in the Time of Cholera?). A very spiritual song compared to the others. He keeps things very interesting with so many different themes.

    Love in the Time of Ecstasy (a reference to the book Love in the Time of Cholera?).
    A very spiritual song compared to the others. He keeps things very interesting with so many different themes.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Joy is my favorite song - flat out great melody and chorus.

    Joy is my favorite song - flat out great melody and chorus.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    John, definitely! That line took me by surprise after the last song haha.

    John, definitely! That line took me by surprise after the last song haha.

  • John C

    John C

    Nice

    Nice

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I find it interesting to get the European perspective. So much of the music I listen to was created in America that uses names, places and cultures I'm very familiar with. Nice to get a change

    I find it interesting to get the European perspective. So much of the music I listen to was created in America that uses names, places and cultures I'm very familiar with. Nice to get a change

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I love the repeating "We tried to get some sleep," it's eerie

    I love the repeating "We tried to get some sleep," it's eerie

  • John C

    John C

    Producer: 'Kramer' (Mark Kramer), NYC musician who has played with Ween and other bands

    Producer: 'Kramer' (Mark Kramer), NYC musician who has played with Ween and other bands

  • John T

    John T NY

    What do we think - are there religious spiritual references throughout these songs??

    What do we think - are there religious spiritual references throughout these songs??

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah me too with the European perspective

    Yeah me too with the European perspective

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I think we're all in sync, but just in case "New Dawn", track 5, starting now.

    I think we're all in sync, but just in case "New Dawn", track 5, starting now.

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah I'm liking this Joy track.

    Yeah I'm liking this Joy track.

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah New Dawn, I'm on it.

    Yeah New Dawn, I'm on it.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Yeah I think there are religious references throughout all of these songs.

    Yeah I think there are religious references throughout all of these songs.

  • John C

    John C

    I think there's definitely spiritual references in the songs.

    I think there's definitely spiritual references in the songs.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I love the speed of New Dawn, it's very different from how we started the whole album and its giving the album a good pace

    I love the speed of New Dawn, it's very different from how we started the whole album and its giving the album a good pace

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    yeah, John T, I think many of the songs have religious overtones. Apparently he had a pretty religious upbringing. Some songs seem to embrace religion while others do not. And sometimes I'm not sure which way he's leaning

    yeah, John T, I think many of the songs have religious overtones. Apparently he had a pretty religious upbringing. Some songs seem to embrace religion while others do not. And sometimes I'm not sure which way he's leaning

  • John T

    John T NY

    New Dawn definitely shows he can rock out when he want to change things up.

    New Dawn definitely shows he can rock out when he want to change things up.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, like the fast pace on this one. Makes sure he's not lulling us to sleep. Good track order

    Yeah, like the fast pace on this one. Makes sure he's not lulling us to sleep. Good track order

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah I read that the title itself is a reference to Willson's Christian upbringing.

    Yeah I read that the title itself is a reference to Willson's Christian upbringing.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Religious Songs" is a catchy one. I also don't know how he's not more popular

    "Religious Songs" is a catchy one. I also don't know how he's not more popular

  • John C

    John C

    And here we go, no better indicator than a title, 'Religious Songs'

    And here we go, no better indicator than a title, 'Religious Songs'

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "you stole my heart and I stole your underwear" Have to laugh a little on that one

    "you stole my heart
    and I stole your underwear"
    Have to laugh a little on that one

  • John T

    John T NY

    I guess Religious Songs kind of answers my question. But I agree John they reflect uncertainty and a desire to continue the quest and find out how best to love in the secular world.

    I guess Religious Songs kind of answers my question. But I agree John they reflect uncertainty and a desire to continue the quest and find out how best to love in the secular world.

  • John C

    John C

    Haha

    Haha

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    My favorite line on the whole album is "How does he expect to be happy when he listens to death metal bands"

    My favorite line on the whole album is "How does he expect to be happy when he listens to death metal bands"

  • John C

    John C

    This could go on my Mountain Jam playlist this weekend.

    This could go on my Mountain Jam playlist this weekend.

  • John C

    John C

    Haha Death Metal can cause a lot of happiness, sometimes.

    Haha Death Metal can cause a lot of happiness, sometimes.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    This one ("religious songs") certainly hints at alienation from the church. Baby John - I like that line too "No Cigarettes" is one of the highlights of the album for me

    This one ("religious songs") certainly hints at alienation from the church. Baby John - I like that line too

    "No Cigarettes" is one of the highlights of the album for me

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Glad you're liking it thus far John C!

    Glad you're liking it thus far John C!

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    All like the triple harmonies in No Cigarettes a lot

    All like the triple harmonies in No Cigarettes a lot

  • John C

    John C

    Nice, really liking No Cigs

    Nice, really liking No Cigs

  • John T

    John T NY

    Listening so intently to this music is not something I normally with much contemporary music. It draws you in to the point that I want very much to see him perform these songs live. Will have to check out his upcoming shows.

    Listening so intently to this music is not something I normally with much contemporary music. It draws you in to the point that I want very much to see him perform these songs live. Will have to check out his upcoming shows.

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah man, definitely

    Yeah man, definitely

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Nice use of strings on this one too. Not sure if that's a 'cello or not but it helps support the song nicely.

    Nice use of strings on this one too. Not sure if that's a 'cello or not but it helps support the song nicely.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T -he played in Brooklyn last year I think and I totally dropped the ball. Let me know if you see anything coming up.

    John T -he played in Brooklyn last year I think and I totally dropped the ball. Let me know if you see anything coming up.

  • John C

    John C

    'So I'll try to see the world in your way.'

    'So I'll try to see the world in your way.'

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    He's not afraid to mix in some uncooth language: "i've been eating all day and i still feel hollow as if i know how long my freaking dick is we were the last true sons of bitches did they teach you shit at school?"

    He's not afraid to mix in some uncooth language:
    "i've been eating all day and i still feel hollow
    as if i know how long my freaking dick is
    we were the last true sons of bitches
    did they teach you shit at school?"

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I'll keep an eye out as well, this would be a fantastic show, especially at a smaller, more intimate venue.

    I'll keep an eye out as well, this would be a fantastic show, especially at a smaller, more intimate venue.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Some existential angst now. He sure covers a lo of ground. I don't know if I should be happy or depressed.

    Some existential angst now. He sure covers a lo of ground. I don't know if I should be happy or depressed.

  • John C

    John C

    Nice melody there

    Nice melody there

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Every song has classic lines in it. It's just fantastic. For an album I only listened to briefly, coming back to it and really giving it a good listen is making me appreciate it way more.

    Every song has classic lines in it. It's just fantastic. For an album I only listened to briefly, coming back to it and really giving it a good listen is making me appreciate it way more.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I've been hearing a lot of banjo throughout the album

    I've been hearing a lot of banjo throughout the album

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah, great touch

    Yeah, great touch

  • John C

    John C

    A little Thom Yorke vocal pitch similarity here

    A little Thom Yorke vocal pitch similarity here

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Yeah John C, defintiely

    Yeah John C, defintiely

  • John T

    John T NY

    Looks like he is touring overseas through the summer. Let's hope he comes back to Brooklyn in the fall.

    Looks like he is touring overseas through the summer. Let's hope he comes back to Brooklyn in the fall.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "And a beer, a beer, a beer, a beer A beer makes you feel good Like if you wanted you could Kick anybody's ass" In a different genre of music people would probably getting drunk at bars singing along to it. And then probably picking fights with people...

    "And a beer, a beer, a beer, a beer
    A beer makes you feel good
    Like if you wanted you could
    Kick anybody's ass"

    In a different genre of music people would probably getting drunk at bars singing along to it. And then probably picking fights with people...

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Closing track "For The Maudlin" is another highlight for me. It always leaves me wanting more when it's done

    Closing track "For The Maudlin" is another highlight for me. It always leaves me wanting more when it's done

  • John C

    John C

    Haha yeah

    Haha yeah

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah he better come to Brooklyn soon

    Yeah he better come to Brooklyn soon

  • John C

    John C

    I like the cover art a lot.

    I like the cover art a lot.

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah I love how this closing track sways very similar to the opener.

    Yeah I love how this closing track sways very similar to the opener.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I'm amazed at the producing on this album. This thing came together masterfully. From song arranging to instrumentation to harmonies it just all works so well. And of course the underlying works are phenomenal too

    I'm amazed at the producing on this album. This thing came together masterfully. From song arranging to instrumentation to harmonies it just all works so well. And of course the underlying works are phenomenal too

  • John C

    John C

    3/4 time has been so hard for me to write a song in. I love how Willson pulls it off.

    3/4 time has been so hard for me to write a song in. I love how Willson pulls it off.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Definitely a great closing track, I love the collage of musical instruments that come together to close this out.

    Definitely a great closing track, I love the collage of musical instruments that come together to close this out.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah John C, I agree. They kind of make a nice sandwich in which all the other songs are contained

    Yeah John C, I agree. They kind of make a nice sandwich in which all the other songs are contained

  • John C

    John C

    'This song is for the poor boy.'

    'This song is for the poor boy.'

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Another great choice John! Thanks for hosting!

    Another great choice John! Thanks for hosting!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John C - funny you say that. I was thinking the same thing the other day so I finally wrote another song in 3/4 (I think it's only my 2nd one ever...)

    John C - funny you say that. I was thinking the same thing the other day so I finally wrote another song in 3/4 (I think it's only my 2nd one ever...)

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I'm always amazed at how fast these albums go by.

    I'm always amazed at how fast these albums go by.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah I know Baby John. They always seem to fly by. We'll have to do a double LP one day and see how it feels.

    Yeah I know Baby John. They always seem to fly by. We'll have to do a double LP one day and see how it feels.

  • John C

    John C

    Nice

    Nice

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah great heartfelt record here!

    Yeah great heartfelt record here!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    By the way, coming up next is a Special Edition "Album Night" on Wednesday, June 24 featuring the release of my new instrumental album 'Mind of Peace'. I thank everyone for joining tonight and hope you will return on June 24th!

    By the way, coming up next is a Special Edition "Album Night" on Wednesday, June 24 featuring the release of my new instrumental album 'Mind of Peace'.

    I thank everyone for joining tonight and hope you will return on June 24th!

  • John T

    John T NY

    A great album from beginning to end. I definitely recommend his follow-up "New Gods" which is every bit as good in my opinion. Nice pick John - I think you found a potential break out singer songwriter. Let's hope he achieves some popularity - he certainly deserves more exposure.

    A great album from beginning to end. I definitely recommend his follow-up "New Gods" which is every bit as good in my opinion.

    Nice pick John - I think you found a potential break out singer songwriter. Let's hope he achieves some popularity - he certainly deserves more exposure.

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah do a double

    Yeah do a double

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Can't wait for it!

    Can't wait for it!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John, John and John - it was a pleasure listening to this album with you. I might go back for another listen. Thanks again for coming!

    John, John and John - it was a pleasure listening to this album with you. I might go back for another listen. Thanks again for coming!

  • John C

    John C

    Yeah very much looking forward to Mind of Peace

    Yeah very much looking forward to Mind of Peace

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T- I have to listen to New Gods closer. With a superficial listen I thought it sounded overproduced in comparison to this one. But a closer listen is certainly in order for me.

    John T- I have to listen to New Gods closer. With a superficial listen I thought it sounded overproduced in comparison to this one. But a closer listen is certainly in order for me.

  • John C

    John C

    This was great! I will be at Mountain Jam this weekend. Let me know if any of you will be there too, have a great night!

    This was great! I will be at Mountain Jam this weekend. Let me know if any of you will be there too, have a great night!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Thanks John C. It's been a long journey. I'm happy to finally get to the point of sharing it. By the way, everyone will be able to stream Mind of Peace right here on JohnBanrock.com for free during the event, so spread the word! :)

    Thanks John C. It's been a long journey. I'm happy to finally get to the point of sharing it.

    By the way, everyone will be able to stream Mind of Peace right here on JohnBanrock.com for free during the event, so spread the word! smile

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Thanks John C. Have a good time at Mountain Jam. And a good night to all!

    Thanks John C. Have a good time at Mountain Jam.

    And a good night to all!

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