john weinland | Demersville

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Folk: Folk Pop Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by john weinland

[Folk-Pop] - \"Their new CD Demersville is an amazing collection of beautiful & haunting indie-folk-rock arrangements. While John Weinland has been compared to Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, and Cat Power, there’s more to it than just that.\" -Portland Mercury
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
Release Date: 

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1. Piles of Clothes
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2. The Loaded Gun
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3. The Letters
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4. Young and Smart
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5. Other Folks
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6. In Which Case
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7. Scene 30
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8. Whatever It Matters
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9. From A Town You Left
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Album Notes
\"There\'s history in John Weinland\'s name, but you\'ll also hear its echos in the Portland folk-pop band\'s brilliant music. These aren\'t just folk ballads. With their arrangements, backing vocals and piano parts, these are near-perfect pop songs.\" - The Willamette Week

\"The resulting effort is a record of beautiful lo-fi intimacy. Clearly a disciple of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, Weinland plucks lilting guitar chords over tender lyrics of yearning and loss. His voice is hushed, but belies an impressive range.\" - The Portland Mercury

\"... John Weinland fits the bill well with his gentle, lo-fi numbers born of bluegrass and folk roots perfectly suited for phonograph players.\" - PDX Magazine

\"You may not know it yet, but John Weinland is one of the best things Portland\'s folk-pop scene has going for it right now. Amid the leagues of singer-songwriters in PDX, John Weinland\'s Adam Shearer --yeah, John Weinland is the band name-- stands alone in his ability to craft mlodies and lyrics that battle for poignancy. This music has the heart of Neil young, the thoughtfulness of Nick Drake and the beautiful sorrow of Elliot Smith. Damn it, it just makes you feel...not always good, but then that\'s not always the point, is it?\" - The Willamette Week

\"I was very impressed with these guys. They had a very sophisticated Iron & Wine sound, with vocals that seemed like a less whiny variation on Death Cab for Cutie, and very good lyrics.\" -No real plan: A log of events

\"Weinland has some songs that could be bona fide hits Iron and Wine style, but it\'s a matter of time I reckon.\" - Team Tinnitus


to write a review

The Portland Mercury amazing & intimate collection of hauntingly beautiful folk lullabies
Head over to our pod-n-vod page to check out my interview with local band John Weinland. Included with the interview are a few tracks off their new album Demersville, which quickly proved to be an amazing & intimate collection of hauntingly beautiful folk lullabies—the kind that are so good they give you goose bumps.

Willamette Week

Adam Shearer, the lead singer of the band John Weinland, is one of the strongest
[FOLK-POP] Adam Shearer, the lead singer of the band John Weinland, is one of the strongest young songwriters in this city. An acoustic strummer, Shearer is, in his whispered lyricism and his gift for imagery, an heir to Elliott Smith. He also shares that late songwriter's obsession with distance and an unattainable peace of mind, as heard on John Weinland's first official release, Demersville (self-released). But there is also a great divide between the songwriters. Here among the country-tinged arrangements and patient instrumental interludes, Shearer has managed to interweave his sad songs with something that rarely occurs in Smith's compositions: hope.

"Other Folks," where Shearer musters a Neil Young drawl against Alia Farah tender harmonies, shows the beautiful complexity hope and despair can create when in the hands of Shearer. "I hope you don't regret a single day you spent/ draggin' my old heart around," he sings as the lap steel whines. The rest of the album covers the same ground with little musical repetition, from the "it's all in how you're layin' it out" of "The Loaded Gun" to the "I've got hope, but she's got reason" of "Young and Smart" to the—dammit, there's that word again—"I've got a little hope up in my heart" of "Scene 30."

It's amazing what a talented backing band can do for music rooted in darkness. The other players on this album manage to paint Shearer's guarded hope with joy (the instrumentals on "The Letters" burst with it). But when hope is absent in Shearer's songs, the band becomes a burden.

"Piles of Clothes" is the best song the Portlander has ever written. It's an earnest lament of an absent love filled with distance, doubt and indifference and led off with a telling image: "I'm sleepin' next to piles of clothes/ That I can't even manage to fold/ Clean or otherwise." It's a painful, miserable song, but it's hard to imagine that Shearer is really that miserable with the instrumentation here. Played with a full band, plus violin, cello and piano, this song of loneliness sounds almost like a pose. A song like this is meant to be played alone in a room cluttered with clothes, not musicians. Hopefully Shearer will realize that when the hope disappears, so should the band.


The Portland Tribune

“Demersville” is a rare bird — an album that announces itself as a classic from
Ghosts roam freely on “Demersville,” the long-awaited album by local band John Weinland. Most of the time they appear as the specter of expired relationships, although the record’s quiet jewel, “Other Folks,” is actually a gentle and tender missive to a departed lover.

These are songs that are truly haunting in their beauty — full of melancholy nostalgia and delivered in lovely, sepia-toned folk-pop snapshots.

Singer Adam Shearer has the kind of breathy vocals and songwriting skills that have earned comparisons to Neil Young, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. Those names get bandied about a lot, but in this case the name-checking is merited. “Demersville” is a rare bird — an album that announces itself as a classic from beginning to end.

Piano, strings, pedal steel, dobro, mouth harp and some very lovely harmonies give the songs a dusty, dusky atmosphere that accentuates the bittersweet feeling of losing something that’s been dear.

“Just because some things end, it doesn’t mean you’re not the world to me. Will I know you again?” Shearer sings in “The Loaded Gun.” In “Other Folks,” he reassures his departed that “I still don’t feel alone. I can feel your breath on the back of my neck, like a whisper from home.”

Like the letters and photographs from former friends and lovers that litter the songs, Shearer seems to want to reassure us that those people never truly disappear. While their presence may be transitory, the effects are long-lasting — and so are the songs on “Demersville.”

— Barbara Mitchell