There’s something whimsical about the cover of Palmer T. Lee’s ‘Winebringer’ album. A watercolor like painting of a beautiful mountain with green trees– just looking at the album can take you to a whole other place away from all of your fears and all of your stresses. As soon as you hit play on this album, the sound only enhances that journey away from your everyday life.
“Rag” starts off super casually. You hear Palmer ask if the recording is going and then after a confident “Alright” he kicks into the beauty of his music. The acoustic guitar sounds simple. I don’t mean that there isn’t talent there because there clearly is, more than it brings this undeniable sense of calm. Before long Palmer’s voice kicks in and it’s impossible to not instantly feel like the music is giving you the hug you have been longing for for weeks, months, even years. With just him and his guitar, this opening track definitely gets you in a comfy mood. I couldn’t help but pour myself a glass of wine as I prepared to embark on the journey that I knew this album would take me on.
Track two “Aw Jeez” starts off with a bit fuller of a guitar sound while still keeping with the calm vibe set with the opening track. Although only a song and a couple seconds in, it’s clear to hear that Palmer is a story teller that was given the gift of musical talent. His lyrics hit you right where it counts. They can either be taken in a very somber view or a more up-lifting view. It all depends on where your mind is at and where you want this album to take you to. This is something that only happens once in a blue moon therefore making this album a new favorite of mine just two songs in. The closing line of this song is “Don’t you know who you are?” Let’s just let that sink in for a minute while I take another sip of my wine.
“Fat Barred Owl” shows a new side of Palmer’s voice that had yet to be seen during the first two tracks. There’s a new found sense of aggression in his voice while still somehow coming off as calming. Think Mumford & Sons if they never would have gotten too big for their britches and, instead of a band, was just one guy and some friends in the background (yes, I’m trying to say Mumford & Sons before they sold out but was trying to be nice about it). Derek McSwain brings his beautiful mandolin playing to this song which adds yet another side of this album that is new but will continue to pop up throughout the rest of the recordings.
One of my favorite tracks has to be “Uneasy”. Maybe it’s the addition of the fiddle or maybe it’s those lyrics that, again, tell a story that hit a little bit too close to home. Regardless of what it was, this was one of those songs that, when listening through this album to write this review, I had to listen a couple of times just to feel satisfied. The fiddle gives this song a bit of an old-timey feel but Palmer’s voice keeps it from feeling cliche or overdone. “So Between Eyes” brings the focus back onto Palmer’s voice in a beautiful way. The first line alone is enough to give you chills. It’s the way his voice is just so imperfectly perfect. It’s just enough raspy matched with more passion than my words could do justice for. Calmer than the previous couple of songs, “So Between Eyes” was the perfect song to just sit back, sip on my wine, and let the music take me away to a world where my cats weren’t yelling from the kitchen for dinner.
Majority of the songs on this album are between three and five minutes long but “Rice and Beets” lasts for just over seven minutes. There’s a beauty to this song that instantly brought tears to my eyes. I’m not quite sure how to explain the sensation but I can tell you that the tenderness and the passion that comes through on this song is nothing short of overwhelming. Every note plucked on the guitar is plucked with a purpose and every word that Palmer holds is held to the absolute perfect amount of time. I was honestly a bit worried about how long this song was and figured it would drag on for far too long but, the truth is, I was so lost in this other world that it could have lasted forty-seven minutes and it still wouldn’t have been long enough for me.
The laugh that kicks off “Moon You” says it all. Although a tender album, that laugh brings a sense of personality to Palmer that you can feel through his music but never quite see stand out until that laugh. Anna Gordon’s vocals pair with Palmer’s voice so well that it makes me desperate for them to duo an album together (hint, hint, nudge, nudge). The title track finds this album back at it’s roots with nothing more than Palmer’s voice and his distinct guitar playing. This song reminds me a lot of Langhorne Slim which is definitely a selling point as Langhorne is a personal favorite, but it still isn’t a perfect comparison just going to prove my point that Palmer is truly one of a kind.
Closing out this album is “Fiddle Bow”. It kicks off with an almost orchestral start with the fiddles playing together in the most beautiful way. Instead of trying to play as many notes as they can in one measure, the music is slow and precise which stays true as Palmer’s voice comes in to end the truly amazing album. Lyrics can be taken a million different ways depending on your mood and where your head is at. I took this final song to be about the power of music and how, when you have nothing left at all, you will always have music and you will never truly be lonely. What an absolutely perfect way to end this album.
Okay, so maybe I was in a mood tonight. My half drank bottle of wine, a wine glass that I gave up on awhile ago, candles burning bright, and the snow falling like glitter out my window. Okay, yes, I was in a mood and this album definitely hit the spot. This album is such a treasure that even if you’re not in a mood, I’m sure it will hit the spot and fill you up with whatever it is you need right now.
My Favorite Track(s): “Uneasy”; “Rice and Beets”
Chances Of Getting A Noise Complaint While Listening To In An Apartment: 3 out of 10
Daydream-ability: 10 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artemis and Autumn screamed from the kitchen for dinner (although I just fed them two hours ago)
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8.7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4.9 out of 5
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