Denison Witmer is a lovely human being. Now I don’t mean lovely in a wiffly inconsequential sense but in the most satisfying human beings to be around kind of lovely. The man is an understated paradigm of all that is good about human beings.
Denison Witmer makes lovely records. Now I don’t mean lovely in the wiffly inconsequential sense but in the most stunningly crafted songs to have on your iPod kind of lovely. The man makes understated albums of beautiful ambience and depth. His voice and the space he creates between chords is a sonic delight. Think somewhere between Iron & Wine and Elliott Smith with faith and hope added!
Witmer’s lyrical ability is to sing about life’s everyday ordinary moments and relationships and in doing so somehow give permission for your own ordinary life to seem more extraordinary. Denison has lost his father recently and this is a collection of songs that mix the immediate raw pain of loss with the catharsis of reflection and the hint of hope when your grieving journey is far enough on to wish to contemplate that. Music has many attributes to help the healing process of grief and this would be a wonderful gift to anyone who has just lost a loved one.
On The Ones Who Wait we are the mourners grieving the loss of loved ones who have moved on to their hope and left us with our memories and a pain inducing void. The angry Psalmist response is found in Cursing, “Cursing in the name of God, throwing both my hands up now” but faith is glimpsed in the follow up rhetorical question, “Do you have a better idea than what I have?” Elsewhere it is philosophical reflection on his father’s life and influence upon Denison. “How a father always starts out as a son, how sometimes you’re both, sometimes you’re only one” from Hold On reminded me of the weekend when my own father-in-law moved from one to the other. “Now I wear my influence on the outside of my skin, started with an influence on the inside of my skin” is the realisation that the man is always alive in his son and with age it becomes more and more obvious. The hopefulness of “I live in your ghost/ your ghost lives in me now/ I live in your ghost/ you live in the host ever after” takes us out in a conclusion that believes with confidence “a home for your soul” and the ones who wait pondering what that home or heaven might be.
If you are thinking that an album about death is not what you are looking for I take you back to the top. It is all typically Denison Witmer understated. On the surface this is simply a lovely album. If you want to look deeper than deeper will be touched and touched for the healthy disposition of your soul. Absolutely lovely but not wiffly inconsequential!