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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Leaving the Nest

Posted on Thu, Nov 9, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Leaving the Nest
Label: Domino
Length: LP
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Leaving the Nest
A few months ago, D.C.-based songwriter Benjy Ferree opened for Adem at Joe's Pub in Manhattan. Ferree immediately imparted a good-natured stage presence and played an upbeat acoustic set, accompanied only by a cellist. But clamorous rockers like 'In the Countrysideâ?� on Leaving the Nest expose a guy who evidently sheds his full band for such gigs. Ferree is sometimes balls-out on Leaving, and welcomes Kink Kontroversy-level hell in punchy guitar hooks that are thickened with fuzz-box leads and harmonica. Drunken whistle solos meet violin on Ferree's rendition of Johnny Cash's 'A Little at a Time,â?� and its earthy production is packaged as if it were recorded on a friend's back porch. His softer touch ' where the bluesman-lengthened syllables are even more exaggerated ' is very welcome, and Leaving the Nest would benefit if there were more of it here. Bare closer 'In the Woods,â?� for example, is nothing short of heavenly ' a folky, harmonious soundboard recording that's obviously been lifted from one of those stripped-down shows.

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