Look, whatever is going on with WIDOWER’s Kevin Large, whatever problems he may have in his personal life that motivate his maudlin songwriting, whatever ails him, whomever he has wronged—you leave that man alone. I don’t want anyone interrupting the perfectly painful, pitiful songs he’s writing right now. If this WIDOWER band is his release, then so be it. You hear me? If you see Kevin Large in the street, you ignore him, damn you. I want him heartbroken and penniless. Well, maybe get him a few bucks here and there for some guitar strings, and whiskey (cheap whiskey, I say, we don’t want anyone developing any expensive habits).
The first moments of WIDOWER'S new album Fool Moon are a Jeff Fielder (Mark Lanegan, Shannon Stephens) guitar solo pealing like giant electric bells at the church or southern rock, calling the congregation to gather at elder (for his years) Kevin Large's pulpit of self-pity. But the trumpeting on "Jumper Cables" is more like an invite to a drink alone, than a convivial call. What is not self-serving in the least about WIDOWER music is the way they turn a phrase lyrically and musically.
On the very next song the volume is cut, limiting Fielder's attack to a position behind the melody, but placing Large’s voice and acoustic guitar work at the forefront, like a bereft poet babbling about his love hangover for the mysterious Catherine (Oh, Catherine) with Kaylee Cole in ghostly vocal support.
Even when the the album totters it does so in stride, on lyrically weak tracks like "The Antidote", Cole's backup singing is still so strong it makes the lameness of the lyrics about "Love Potion No.9" and its "antidote" almost unnoticeable. Before you know it, Large is back at the top of his wordplay game on "Love, or Lack Thereof", describing what should be possible, but due to circumstances cosmic, and no doubt dipsomaniacal –alas, is not. The album sails out on the electric guitar too, after WIDOWER makes sure you know just how close to being capable of maybe becoming a decent lover they are on the brilliantly titled, perfectly plucked "Almost, Always, All Yours".
Where a lot of indie-country these days attempts to be opiate and fails at drowsy adult, WIDOWER'S Fool Moon reaches a state of glorious drunken delirium in it’s own taste for suffering. Large is vocally astounding despite the limits of his range (between nervous drunk and somber sober) and weighty contributions from Cole, piano player Ty Bailie, Jeff Fielder on dobro, William Moore on bass, and Brian Wright (Grand Hallway) on drums make this album as ironically fun as tears in your eyes from laughing so hard you cry.
Widower's next gig is at Sunset Tavern on February 26th. Buy the album on bandcamp.