Reviews

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Author: Randy Harward
11/03/2005 | New West Salt Lake City | www.newwest.net | Feature
Look into Conor Oberst's eyes. They aren't really bright; rather they are deep and dark. The visage, from a once-obscure Omaha, Nebraska label to the face of confessional indie folk music, may well be a familiar one by now, penetrating and haunting. And it's likely you haven't been paying much attention to the world of music at large if you are unaware of his dual-album release (dba Bright Eyes) earlier this year, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning/Digital Ash In A Digital Urn (Saddle Creek). With debut on the Billboard Top #100 at #10 and #15, and guest vocals by Emmylou Harris, the release was one of the watershed musical events of the year.

Every generation since Dylan and Phil Ochs has had a voice that seems to make the personal into the universal, whose art is so intimate that it seems like it might be too personal, yet somehow transcends that realm into the a larger scale. On these releases he has honed his voice--at times in the past too shrill and too intense (if that's possible); now it's more tempered and refined. The new releases find him exploring technology and a new-found liberal political commitment.