Double DigitsVic Chesnutt: North Star Deserter (2007)
5 out of 5 stars
Vic Chesnutt became a paraplegic at a young age and eventually died of an overdose on muscle relaxants. If you think he might make some fucked-up and dark music, you'd be right. This is the closest thing to Wovenhand I've yet found (see "Splendid," "Debriefing"), with the psychedelic and post-rock touches added to folk/rock. North Star Deserter tends toward sparser arrangements, with a hint of the great Cash. Stop what you're doing right now and listen to "Everything I Say." Thank me later.
Palodine: Garden of Deceit (2008)
4 out of 5 stars
Palodine play Western and folk-inflected rock that scratches my dark Americana itch in a way that no other group has before. That's because of the smoky female vocals. At first I thought Stevie Nicks, but that's not quite right. The band are no slouches either. Someone compared them to Earth, and that's not far off the mark.
Johnny Dowd: No Regrets (2012)
1 out of 5 stars
I first heard Johnny Dowd on Rdio when playing the Wovenhand station, and a few of his songs really caught my attention. Well, maybe I just picked the wrong album. No Regrets grabs the thread connecting Nick Cave to Tom Waits and pulls just a little too hard, unraveling it at both ends. The songs are all titled with women's names. "Nancy" is cool. Despite "Abigail" being one of the better songs on the record, it is an unfathomable disappointment to a rabid Kind Diamond fan like myself. Most of this album ain't worth hearing.