MIDWESTERN INDIE/FOLK WITH FIRE IN ITS BONES
Dust & Clay
2014 / 5 tracks / 23 minutes
“Dust & Clay”, the first EP from Ohioan Weston Skaggs, was developed as a result of a successful IndiGoGo crowd-funding campaign after the release of his first single, “Fire In My Bones”. The only knock on this record that you will hear from me is the fact that has is only five songs. I eagerly await its second half. It is easy to see why Weston’s campaign was funded. “Fire In My Bones”, with its dissonant intro and coda piano line, gorgeous strings, and slow-burn build with each bridge is a powerful song with epic restraint. When Weston finally erupts with emotive chants of the title over tribal drumming, the song explodes to life. It’s over. We’re hooked. We long for more. And what we get is surprising. From the quiet opener “Lion & Lamb”, where over falsetto he laments, “What are we but dust and clay ; brought to life by an empty grave”, to the rousing finale “Wasteland”, which ends with a slide guitar and heartland piano-laden folk jam session, Weston Skaggs commands attention and receives it. But Weston is at his best on “Deliverer”, when he opens up and lets loose. “Deliverer”, the closest on the album to a modern worship song, is powerful in its simplicity (“You have delivered us/Your triumph is glorious/You are my God and I Will Praise You”) and boasts some incredible musicianship. Weston Skaggs is, simply, a remarkable new talent.
Review by Jason Ramsey