Reviews

Four Winds

Author: Adam Gnade
03/12/2007 | San Diego Union Tribune | www.signonsandiego.com | Live Show Preview
If you saw Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst play five or six years ago, you probably figured his chances at mainstream stardom were more or less nil. His songs were too anxious, damaged and dark for radio. His records were released on a tiny label based out of a corn town in a who-cares flyover state. His stage presence was too haunted and self-conscious for big audiences.

But Oberst has -- as he sings on "One Foot in Front of the Other" -- done his share of dancing with the "devils of fame." His songs are on the radio, TV shows and MTV. His label, Saddle Creek (based in Omaha, Neb.), has gotten coverage from biggies like the New York Times and the Associated Press wire service. And Oberst has transformed from a misunderstood, wraithlike underground folky to one of the biggest names in rock.

Oberst went through a phase of writing protest songs, and they were protest songs with perspective, clarity and sinewy prose. His hypercritical screeds are a mix of wary-eyed Woody Guthrie and Carl Sandburgian poetic outcry, with a little of Neil Young's druggy romanticism smoothing out the edges. He went on to release two new full-lengths in 2005, entitled "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" and "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning." His latest effort, "Cassadaga," out in April of 2007.
Four Winds

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