D Ferren founded the band Hipnoses and Sockmonkey in the 90s and in 2001 released his first solo album, Saint of Life and the Morning After Cavalier. Drawing comparisons to Dinosaur Jr and Jack White, the record was co-produced by Jason Davis of Streetlamps For Spotlights and owner of Off The Cuff Sound. Eleven years have passed and we now have the follow-up to that debut in the form of For Glare & Gun. It was worth the wait.“Merilee” starts the album off with a gently strummed acoustic, then accompanied by organ and drums. As the song progresses, more instrumentation is introduced. At the 3:30 mark a brass section comes in, and we’re suddenly transported to a cantina south of the border and wondering about a girl named Merilee while drinking warm Tecates. “Two Dollar Bill,” with its fiddle and rolling snare, sounds like something off of Wilco’s A.M. Ferren has one of those voices that sounds so familiar, yet you just can’t quite place it. At times he’s reminiscent of Mutations-era Beck, at other times a less constipated Jay Farrar, although Farrar could never write anything this fun. Backing vocals from Wooden Satellite’s Andrea Harvey take songs such as “The Ballad of Gram Parsons,” “Going to Phoenix” and “Elephant Tears” to another level. “Elephant Tears” is the album’s most experimental track, starting out with drones and noise that evolves into a 70s-era, organ-fueled, long jam, complete with a great sax solo not unlike Wayne Shorter’s celebrated solo on Steely Dan’s Aja. Put your headphones on for this.
D Ferren gets by with a little help from his friends, and For Glare & Gun is an album of wonderfully written songs, ornamented by excellent musicians. The album was recorded once again with co-producer Davis directly to tape. Davis pulled multiple duties on drums, organ, piano, bass and probably the kitchen sink. In addition to Harvey’s vocals, Bob Craven’s pedal steel brings the songs he’s on to a whole other level. This record feels like a lost gem, newly found; we get to enjoy it once again and wonder how we ever got along without it. You get beautiful ballads, desert strummers, experimental jams and ramshackle alternative country that at times feels like it’s falling apart at its drunken seams. But like the best of the best, D Ferren and company bring it all back together in the end.
Get a hold of D Ferren’s For Glare & Gun, put on some headphones and reap the rewards.
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November 17 • Honeywell Center