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D. Braxton Harris

Deep Dark Black – 1998 (Ideal)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by D. Braxton Harris

There's something shiny and luminous at the heart of D. Braxton Harris' disc. Maybe it's his uncanny ability to take a wide variety of countrified forms and meld them together in a long midnight of the soul.

Harris opens with a heartbreak waltz, "Shiny Suits," then shuffles along to "Halogen" and the haunting, almost a cappella "Fallen House," all in a voice that begs comparisons to Neil Young's mellower efforts. The songs are scary because of their intensity, but warm at the same time - thanks to the raw emotion shining through. Detractors will snipe that this kind of stuff went out in the early 1970's. That will be their loss.They will also try to spot the similarities to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco or Jay Farrar of Son Volt - or even the intense poetry of Richard Buckner. It's all here. So is a heaping amount of talent and a bunch of songs worth spending some time getting to know. Play it late at night after the party's done.