Available Light is rooted in folk rock and country rock but displays a number of unusual colorations that will never be found in any of the extent catalogue (listen to the progressively tinged instrumental closer, Where are my Keys? for an encapsulated example). Willy Porter plays all the guitars in the quartet here, except bass, and sings with a full-bodied voice, save when adopting a sweet light falsetto in songs like Still Doing Time—one of my favorites in the CD—or in just laying back, as in the reflective One More September, a gorgeous mellow rocker.
The guy arranges his songs very well, creating canvases to match the stories, favoring a mode bridging folk to rock to an artful neoclassicality in the embellishments, subtle affects crucial to his open ground melancholia. His singing, though, is the center force, and Porter is magnetic no matter what mode he's keyed into, rockin' thumper or wistful lament. Nor is his axemanship anything to pass lightly over, very capable in a lead, rhythm, or slide, even lap steel, capacity, judiciously delicate (Sleepy Litle), gittin' down in the root cellar (Hairball), or tilting to Windham Hill-ish abstraction (the aforementioned gem, Where are my Keys?).
I have no idea about his involvements elsewhere—no literature came with the CD and I'm too damn lazy at the moment to do research—but this is a guy who is going to be asked to produce discs and co-write with many because he carries that indefinable something that will draw other artists to him, that strange light of an unorthodox but perfectly indexed approach to aesthetic matters. Keep an eye on Willie Porter, 'cause if you don't, you just might very much regret missing what he's doing and what's yet to come.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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