Burnt Toast Vinyl
Guest review by Matt
Young, The Band, Gram Parsons and Jackson Browne have undeniably
contributed to the bible of the singer-songwriter. In his still
young career, it's apparent that this is the same book from which
Philadelphia artist Dennison Witmer reads.
On his latest Burnt Toast
Vinyl release, Recovered, Witmer offers his interpretation
of the gospel according to Young, Browne and Cohen. While Recovered
offers no new original Witmer compositions, its success lies in
Witmer's ability to capture the power and beauty of each song he
covers. Sounding eerily similar to a mid-'70s album by anyone of
the aforementioned artists, Witmer masterfully recreates the mood
of the singer-songwriter heyday. However, if the casual listener
is unfamiliar with the deep catalogs of the artists, they might
be in for a surprise. Such selections as Young's "Love in Mind"
and The Band's "It Makes No Difference" are not "Heart
of Gold" and "Up On Cripple Creek."
By digging deep into
these artists' catalogs, Witmer has allowed himself room to breathe
and interpret, not being pigeonholed by the familiarity of hits.
The real achievement on Recovered is that Witmer makes every
song sound as if it could be his own. With the experience of recreating
some of rock and roll's most respected artists' songs, Witmer has
undoubtedly strengthened his own knowledge of superior songwriting.
This is an artist to watch as he defiantly has the potential to
create his own chapter: the book according to Denison.
Posted Nov. 10,
2003. Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
digging deep into these artists' catalogs, Witmer has allowed
himself room to breathe and interpret, not being pigeonholed
by the familiarity of hits."
With the exception
of maybe Mary Lou Lord, Witmer does what few musicians can
-- he performs covers that don't make you yearn for the originals,
because you're content just hearing his versions. It's a dour
CD; Witmer's spare acoustic arrangements makes every song
sound rainy-day and slightly gloomy, but that's okay. At the
end of the day, this is still a covers album. The proof in
the pudding is what Witmer can whip up on his own.