Friday, September 7, 2007

Ham 1 info


A ringing attribute of Jim Willingham’s songwriting is that it
manages to be both exuberant and high-minded -- inviting and literate
-- all at once. Combining the terse acoustic propulsion of the late-
model Feelies with the breezy, half-stoned-on-the-beach pop-ambiance
of Dean Wareham’s Luna, Willingham nevertheless brings a distinctive
Athenian warmth to his Captain’s Table. It figures: there are horn-
charts and string-sections, burst veins of Link Wray-ish guitarplay,
pastoral keyboard-drones, tremulous bits of Hawaiian slack-key guitar
and some country-fried saunter up under the rhythm section. Chiefly,
though, there’s that friendly storytelling voice -- half-sung, half-
spoken – escorting you through the broken waltzes, atmospheric
ballads and jittery rockers, all.

For his first Orange Twin release, Willingham capitalizes on his
longstanding musical relationship with a pair of veteran Elephant Six
luminaries; former Olivia Tremor Control members, drummer/multi-
instrumentalist Eric Harris and keyboardist Pete Erchick, make key
textural and compositional contributions to the new disk. Rounding
out the idiosyncratic lineup are Athens fixtures Jacob Morris and
Chris Sugiuchi on cello and trombone, respectively; acclaimed local
songstress Liz Durrett, whom the band often backs on stage, lends her
rich vocal harmony to two tracks.

A solid couple years of playing around the south have shorn up the
group’s ensemble sound, and “The Captain’s Table” is strong proof;
the group’s intricate instrumental chemistry frames the record
perfectly, coalescing Willingham’s sprawling vision into a unified
artistic whole -- this is no loose collection of songwriter-plus-band
musings. Producer Andy Baker’s shimmering, vibrant patina serves each
song with minimal intrusion; there’s an airy, informal atmosphere to
the album that makes for rewarding repeated listening: you can choose
to skate along the brilliantly crystalline surface of each song or
dive full-bore into Willingham’s weird and beautiful lyrical world.
more info here:

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