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MP3 Old Man Hands - Under The Weight Of Night

Ambient folk, dancing between lush pop backing and stripped down lofi

15 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, ROCK: Americana


by Seth Combs

Its hard not to get personally involved with Gabriel Feenbergs music. Once you hear it, you want to share it with everyone you know. You find yourself burning discs, e-mailing friends about shows. You find yourself saying You gotta check this guy out; hes incredible so much that you inevitably start to feel like his manager.

I wasnt trying to be subtle, explains Feenberg in the backyard of his La Jolla home. [My music is] all personal, but because it is so personal, I dont want to come off sounding cheesy.

Working under the moniker Old Man Hands, Feenberg makes an ethereal, yet soothing, brand of indie-folk that, if anything, is certainly cheeseless. His parents realized early on that their son with the strange hands (hence the name) had musical tendencies. By the time he was 6 he was already playing songs on the saxophone.

I was kind of like a novelty act, like, Lets bring the 6-year-old up.

Nowadays, Feenberg plays everything from accordion to piano and even sojourned at the Berklee College of Music in Boston to study trombone. While hes consistently played in bands, he says that it was alone with a four-track recorder that he started to realize he had something to offer.

For whatever reason, whenever I would pick up the guitar by myself, it was always more mellower and prettier than the bands I was playing in. It naturally did that.

After recording and playing some songs for friends, which he later compiled into his first self-titled album, Feenberg mustered the courage to do some open-mics. But it wasnt until the release of his new album, Under the Weight of Night, that people really took notice.

With the multi-layering soundscapes similar to Sufjan Stevens, songs like Just Dust Blowing East and Retrograde have the feel of acoustic Eels, while Let Me Be and Slip Away recall Harvest-era Neil Young. It also sounds astoundingly professional, especially considering he produced and played virtually every instrument on the album.

Its still not perfect, he says, but I feel like its getting better.

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