Willem Maker AGAPEO

Long time coming this review. I was lucky enough to get a digital download of Maker’s album months ago but as an old time hands on product type of guy it got lost within the myriad folders that populate my desktop. It was a chance re listening of Maker’s album New Moon Hand which reminded me that that there was some more gold awaiting to be mined. New Moon Hand was a tremendous mixture of Bonnie Prince Billy and Tom Waits (in a nutshell) that gained additional weight from the backstory of Maker having to retire from music making for some time after being poisoned by industrial effluent in his hometown. Listening to AGAPAO however gives no indication that this man is a victim. Instead he builds on the previous album’s comparisons and adds a scintillating Herculean holler worthy of Captain Beefheart.
Maker plays most of the instruments here himself, delving into swampy blues, twisted backporch sermons and gravelled voiced prophets. He summons up ghosts, old and new, Howling Wolf and John Fahey could sit comfortably in these grooves. His howling voice on the mandolin laced opener Changlin’ sets the scene and culminates in the pulverising Gulf of Mexico. I am I is a blistering boogie that Canned Heat would have proud of. Revival shreds the likes of the White Stripes with its sloppy guitar and wheezy harmonica. All through the album Maker inhabits the character of the downtrodden, and he plays downtrodden music but there is a sure sense of righteousness in the fire and brimstone delivery,. An Alabama apostle to be sure but in the end a one man band that buzzes and burns.

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I am I

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