Fond du Lac (Trampa)
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Aug. 8, 2008
Adam AhrensFond du Lac (Trampa)
Adam Ahrens' voice is instantly familiar, a molasses mixture of Bill Callahan and Leonard Cohen. That's apparent within the first three songs of his sophomore CD, a more layered, exotic affair than the former Wisconsinite's finger-picked debut. "Soldier's Pay" tells a Cohen story under jazzy horns (courtesy of Michael Ramos), and the delicate "Weaverfinch" strums and picks under a Callahan-esque drawl, deep and smoky as he sings a love song to a bird. Ahrens comes into his own on lullaby "It's Not Just Stars," organ-driven gospel ballad "Worthy Hands" with guest vocalist Dana Falconberry, and the waltz-speed "Second Hand Wings," which explodes under Ramos' cumbia horns. Fond du Lac's a welcoming mix of folk and blues, and he's a decent storyteller, but it feels like Ahrens is still reaching for something more, a worldly sound that's just starting to form.