Present Dusk is marked by acoustic guitar jams that come off as a
cross between Husker Du unplugged and My Dad is Dead. Weaver
has a lot of power in both his voice and his strenuous, axe-shredding
Present Dusk is like a glimpse into the diary of a slightly tortured
artist. The introspection is similar to the spiritual tone of Zen Arcade,
and Weaver plays up pained expression much like Bob Mould did in
the '80s on "Half Swear at Least."
While most of Present Dusk is based around acoustic guitar, the
piano piece "West Side" breaks things up nicely. Weaver seems to
have his guard up both emotionally and musically. For the next
release, it'd be nice to hear interactions with other musicians to
supplement Weaver's brand of folk-core.
In this highly inventive first solo record, Baton Rouge native Fred
Weaver combines simple acoustic rhythms with aggressive vocals to
produce a distinctive and soulful sound. The results of his musical
experiment are extremely clever. The vocals alternate between
moments of passionate cries and tender melodies. At first listen the
sound is surprising, but as it progresses, Weaver juxtaposes poetic
lyrics and alternative sounding vocals to produce an intriguing and
infectiously pensive atmosphere. Tracks such as "Searchlights" and
"Half Swear At Least" combine intricate lyrics about love and loss
with Weaver's hauntingly somber voice. The simple sound of
Weaver's acoustic guitar alone accompanies him on this notable
artistic venture. Significant vocal mood changes echo against the
guitar background and give the songs an undeniable degree of
Eva D. Hirschberg
Take the energy of Hüsker Dü, mix it with the pure brilliance of
Fugazi and shirk it all down to a man and his acoustic guitar. This
would give you somewhat of an idea what this Baton Rouge native
sounds like. I guess if there is a category of acoustic-alternative, he
would fit in there nicely. Fred Weaver combines beautifully
arranged acoustic riffs with aggressive vocals. Present Dusk avoids
the acoustic album plague of having all the tracks sound the same
after four or five songs. This music is not for everybody, it's
unpolished and more straightforwarard than some people are used
to. Fred agrees in his press kit that given the nature of some of his
songs, he has limited commercial potential. But there is a large
chunk of people that will enjoy this. And if his live performances
come close to matching the talent shown on this album, you should
definitely check him out on July 6th at O'Cayz Corral.
With little more than an acoustic guitar, Fred Weaver has managed to
make one of the best albums I've heard so far this year. Present Dusk
carries on the tradition of metal mettle in a very unconventional way.
Resisting his urge to rock, every song, instrumental or not, clearly
evokes some sort of emotion. On "Fifty Miles Away", two people
separated by the distance mentioned in the title never come together,
although the protagonist gets as close as thirty miles, they still can not
bring themselves the full distance. "I can't think of words to say",
"Wishing things would become clear", "It scares me to death"... there
are no thinly veiled references in the lyrics -- it's all raw emotion and
it's easy to empathize. When Weaver sings about loneliness, fear,
regret, happiness, hope, silence... whatever, you're right there with him.
Well, the first thing I have to say about Fred Weaver's CD " Present
Dusk" is acoustic alternative. When I first put the cd into my player and
heard the firs track, I have to be honest, I almost turned it off. I thought,
well here we go again, another acoustic rocker whinning about his life,
but I kept pressing on and found what turned out to be some great
songwriting and a very deep feeling throughout the remainder of the
Fred sent me a letter explaining some of his motivations and some
responses that he has gotten from the album, which according to Fred
have been, well most don't "get it". "I don't know where this record came
from. I mean, I cant' even think of a way to describe some of the songs.
Is it acoustic rock music with no rhythm section?,,, I guess the record is
just a product of my circumstances in that I moved to New Orleans from
New York and couldn't find anyone with the right mind to play my brand
of melodically dissonant and rhythmically sophisticated punk rock."
Maybe meaningful alternative music has lost its place in this world. The
recording is of very good quality and Weaver is no slouch on the guitar.
Every song is very melodic and dynamic. Weaver does a good job at
conveying his message and you can tell that he is a part of every song.
But sometimes we lose his vocal on the strained parts.
The CD really picks up with track 2, "Two People's Thoughts", which
has gotten considerable radio play on KLSU. And basically the following
tracks are great. I think my favorite track is probably a toss up between
"Charlet", "West Side" and "Searchlights".It's difficult to make an
acoustic album sound different, even if all the songs are different. But
Weaver accomplishes this, and at times adds some piano and violin to the
mix, If I had to categorize this, I'd say somewhere in between "folk" and
"alternative". Weaver even has some trouble with this, he also feels like
most of the public will struggle with this album. But the reason for that
struggle is not the performance, its the lack of a backing band. I think
Weaver realizes this, but I would love to hear some of these tunes with a
full complement of musicians.
If you like a solo artist with an acoustic guitar and do not mind skipping
maybe one track, its not a bad idea to add this CD to your collection. If
you don't, I don't think that there is no harm done, Fred will be back with
another album with a full band this summer. I'll give this album TWO