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The man who brought us Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot is back with his sophomore solo album. I’m not the biggest fan of American folk music, but once in a while I stumble upon albums that really blow me away. Most recently, the last two Richard Thompson albums, namely, Sweet Warrior and the soundtrack to the Werner Herzog documentary Grizzly Man.
Scott Kelly has an extremely coarse voice and when put in context with the backing of a single acoustic guitar, is enough to make the sunniest of days turn into a tornado of depression. It’s in this simplicity that the beauty of this album lies. I’m a huge fan of westerns and The Wake represents to me the desolate western desert plains and the long days in the sun playing guitar and watching the wind blow.
The man sings with a lot of conviction, experience and exemplifies hard earned wisdom. When he says “I’ll walk through fire… for you…” the first words uttered on the album opener "The Ladder in My Blood", you know that he’ll do it, if it came to that.
That being said, this is not the most accessible folk album (for those who are thinking about taking this album on their next campfire trip along with your worthless-piece-of-shit Givson acoustic guitars), considering the coarseness of Kelly’s voice and the bleak, melancholic nature of the lyrics. The album has a running time of approx. 34 mins - just long enough to not remind you of the insignificance of your life’s endeavors and your inevitable erasure from existence.