One World Forever and Ever and Ever
by Chad Beck
Whether they want it or not, all artists have an image. While some performers make fools of themselves begging for the limelight, others approach it with humility and a genuine innocence. Travis Vanest, a new folksy singer/songwriter out of Indiana, shares blood with the latter. One World Forever and Ever and Ever brims with a gently playful mood throughout, even amidst some of the more sober tracks.
There is little instrumentation backing up Vanest on One World, and the overall sound is reminiscent of fellow dour troubadours like Will Oldham of the Palace Brothers, Daniel Johnston and Vic Chesnutt. Tracks like "Against That Day," "I Didn't Know" and the catchy title song rely more heavily on Vanest's lyrical bombast than on the handful of instruments that accompany them. As he charmingly struggles to hit some of the higher notes the listener will get wrapped up in his non-confrontational approach. On the sing-songy "Disorder" Vanest fills the listener in on his intentions. "I've got a good one for you / It's about the American Dream / Sliding up and down the rope / It's about how the bad guys win / And how the good guys choke." Taken from a well-intended love song, these lyrics set the course for the entire album.
Vanest's ability to go deep into the human psyche and shamelessly question it is complemented by producer Jim Spiegel, who does a great job of making One World an interesting listen from beginning to end. By supplanting additional guitar melodies, bass lines, sparse percussion and sublime female vocals, Spiegel gives One World desperately needed texture and depth. The melodies on this album are both simple and sharp, making the songs memorable and user-friendly. One World marks the beginning of yet another new, shining talent in Indiana. Copies of One World Forever and Ever and Ever can be obtained by sending a check for $10 to Travis Vanest at 80 1/2 N. Miami, Wabash, IN 46992.
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