Rejoicing In The Hands
The Second Coming? The New Christ of Folk? No one has gone that far yet (at least I don't think - you never know) but Devendra Banhart has become an overnight sensation (although as anyone who has played music knows that is an oxymoron) and revelation, almost single-handedly ushering in the new folk scene as we know it. From write-ups in the biggest corporate newspapers and magazines, to his boyish, hippy-ish good looks, Banhart has taken the indie music scene by storm. And he deserves all the attention. His first three albums are comprised of amazingly simple folk: a man and his guitar, sometimes accompanied by well-playing pals. While many label Banhart Freak Folk, his music is not really that close such a genre. His songs are short, concise and while the guitar playing is amazingly intricate, it is nonethless just him and his guitar. What makes Devendra stand out (and lends credence to the Freak Folk label), besides the aesthetically obvious, is his singular voice and lyrical stylings. Without the music, Banhart could be a poet-laureate. Though his lyrics are often obscure and filled with ethereal drug-tinged themes they are never anything short of the essence of beauty. With so many lines to choose from, this one has become my favorite of late from It's A Sight To Behold on his second album Rejoicing In The Hands, where he lulls "It's like finding hope / In an old folk song / That you've never ever heard / But know all the words / And for sure you can sing along." Just writing those words sent chills all over my body. The instrumentation during those lines enhances their power even more wonderfully. What makes his music great, is that Banhart's folk is so utterly transcendent yet so uniquely personal both to the artist and the listener. So much has been written about him that it would be futile for me to continue. I would recommend, though, the recent release of his second (Rejoicing In The Hands) and third (Nino Rojo) albums which are now available on 2xLP gatefold format with new original artwrork by Banhart (whose drawings are a quintessential part of his music and his overall being) along with two extra tracks of spoken word by Young God Records head M. Gira. Finally, Banhart has a new album coming out soon which he layed down over 30 tracks for and this time around had a lot of collaborators working with him. I can't wait.