steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Long Live the Well-Doer" CD

Box Tree Records

Genres: folk-rock, alt country, indie rock

band website

Feb 28 - Mar 6 2005

Dave Heumann has long lived in the shadows of fame (so to speak), playing a supporting role in bands like The Anomoanon and Bonnie Prince Billy, but Arbouretum finally marks his entrance into the spotlight, along with bandmate David Bergander.  Adding to the pot is a selection of contributing musicians and singers, including Ned Oldham and Rob Girardi.  As can be expected, Long Live the Well-Doer isn't entirely removed from the Oldham camp of country-tinged folk-rock, but Arbouretum does change things up quite a bit, adding a number of atmospheric instrumentals to the fray and giving the entire record a more experimental, almost drone-like essence.

The album opens up with a slow, improv-style instrumental intro that quickly sets the tone in a unique, gradual vein.  This type of piece also appears in "I am a Somnambulist" and "Wisteria," which are more melodic and structured, but still spaced-out and gradual.  The songs with vocals are the primary focus on Well-Doer, however.  "All That Will Be Has Become, All That Has Come Isn't Gone" and "Don't Let It Show" are two especially strong folk tunes; each one uses a relaxed, sensitive tone and imbues it with a strong, instantly memorable melody.  The mellow finale, "Song's a Seed in My Garden," finishes the record nicely, using an Anomoanon-esque sound that is touchingly beautiful.  

If you choose to pan this off as just another Oldham family side-project, that's your decision - however, for those willing to give it a shot, there's no doubting that this album is, on its own, a tremendously successful release.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by Morphius, released 2004]