New Meredith Bragg – “My Absent Will”

In the past, Washintgon D.C. troubadour Meredith Bragg’s voice has drawn comparisons to Ben Gibbard, or Elliott Smith. And this new solo record makes good on ‘em (see “New York” for your Gibbard fix, the fragility of “Ballad Of An Opportunist” for Elliott), but it’s an unchecked name that gets channeled and filtered on album opening track “My Absent Will.” And though it’s a disservice to Bragg’s ultimately singular, fragile guitar-and-voiced record to simply play name the influence, Sufjan’s all over this thing, from the bah-da-dums to the gently strummed tune’s breathy tenor. Silver Sonya, named after the studio in which it was recorded (belongong to Beauty Pill’s Chad Clark and Aloha’s T.J. Lipple), is a concept album of sorts: written after Meredith’s world travels with his lady love and adhering to two simple rules. He says:

Rule #1: Only the sounds I could get from my acoustic guitar or voice
could be used.
Rule #2: Once recorded, there were no restrictions on how they could
be manipulated.

After laying down tracks, sound files were “pulled, filtered, shifted, butchered, looped, broken, and mended,” but the standout “My Absent Will” does little by way of studio trickery. Probably ’cause it just doesn’t need it.

Meredith Bragg – “My Absent Will” (MP3)

“Plinian,” “Rejoice,” “Turns Out You Won,” “Alhacen” … Bragg’s put together a good run of tunes here. Silver Sonya is out 12/12 on Kora, highly recommended for open micers running out of affecting, guy-with-guitar tunes to cover.