Style: Heartland Americana; James Taylor, Chris Rice, Nick Drake
Top tracks: "Dream Again," "Vow of Silence," "Beyond Belief"
In a nutshell: Late last year, David Wilcox and a team of musicians hunkered down in a coastal California studio, using vintage-y analog tape to marvelously capture twelve new tracks of the singer/songwriter's old soul swagger. Though Wilcox is typically known for his acoustic storyteller vibe, this record shoulders the weight of a full band with overdub panache well. Even so, Wilcox bypassed studio protocol to record his final vocal before tracking the band. As a result, the heart of each song stays true to his vulnerable vocals and melancholic messages. Open Hand continues Wilcox's provocative lyricism, tingeing songs of sadness with traces of hope, even if he is not exactly proffering where to find it. Wilcox is a master song crafter and Open Hand is yet another worthy housing for his famous folksy flair.1