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Album of the Week

Hannah Weidner – Comfortable Existence

Rochester is having a good September as far as buffaBLOG is concerned. Earlier this month we saw the release of Cottage Jefferson’s fantastic new album B-Side, which deservingly snagged the blog’s first Album of the Week spot of September. This week we have another Rochester artist grabbing the spot—meet singer/songwriter Hannah Weidner. The DIY songbird’s debut album, Comfortable Existence, is a harmony-rich acoustic beaut, drawing comparisons to earlier tracks of sister-songwriter duo First Aid Kit.

Now, as aforementioned, Comfortable Existence is an acoustic album at its core, consisting primarily of folksy acoustic tracks with beautifully-crafted vocal harmonies. (Take the ‘love-is-in-the-air’ album-opener “Your Essence” for example.)  A more focused listen reveals a certain intricacy to the songs that adds serious depth to the album, making Hannah Weidner and her songcraft stand out among other folk contemporaries.

The subtle inclusion of horns and air organ in a few of the songs adds flavor and dynamicity to the record. “Faded Runs” pairs a soft air organ (played by Tim Avery, the record’s producer) with light and airy acoustic guitar chords for a sound that is, for lack of a better word, nice. As one of the album’s more introspective tracks, Weidner sings solo on this one, delivering a Joanna Newsom-esque eccentricity that complements the song’s sunny instrumentation.

Smooth and sensual “Eyes of Blue” adds a horn to the mix (also played by Avery), which does well to heighten the romanticism of Weidner’s passionately-sung lyrics- “Eyes of blue, I only see you, you are the sun and I can’t look away / Eyes of blue, I only feel you and I’m just noticing it for the first time.” Penultimate track “A Typical Love Story” takes a drab stab at the risks of romance with a somber chord progression and lyrics warning to “Watch out, watch out, some kids never come back, watch out / You’ll search and search forever just to find out the truth never circumvents your doubt.”

Hannah swaps out the acoustic for an electric guitar in “Kara’s Song”—my favorite track on Comfortable Existence. She wastes no time on unnecessary intros and riffs hard right from the get-go, singing resoundingly to follow suit. The root chord doesn’t change until the chorus, giving the song a drone of sorts, resulting in the black-sheepish uniqueness that makes this track so great.

All things considered, Comfortable Existence fills the singer-songwriter niche well, but is more than just a one-course-meal. Hannah Weidner serves up an interesting collection of tracks ranging in mood and composition, and does so with an especially alluring vocal prowess. She’s even made hard copies of the album, something to hold in your hands and cherish for years to come. You can order one here.

Written by Ronald Walczyk

Written by Ronald Walczyk