I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know about Dan Reeder until a week or two ago. His debut — which he made at home, with homemade instruments in a homemade studio, and mailed to John Prine, who liked it enough to give him a two-record deal — came out in 2004 and was reviewed favorably on NPR. His third record, This New Century, came out in February of last year.
Reeder is an artist, a painter (damn good one by the looks of it), and music is obviously something of an idiosyncratic hobby for him. These are not the songs of someone aiming for radio play. This New Century is his most polished effort, but that’s a relative thing in his case — it’s still just him, singing his own multi-tracked harmonies, picking at his own homemade instruments.
It’s just that the songs are touch more crafted and somewhat more serious. (His first two albums are ribald and profane, albeit in a wry, low-key sort of way.) The lyrics reflect a keenly observant and occasionally poignant brand of fatalism that I absolutely adore, though it’s definitely a matter of taste. If you like gallows humor, you’ll like it.
This tune is called “Maybe.”
Get Grist in your inbox