Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst

by Conor OberstConor Oberst


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Abandoning the Bright Eyes moniker he's been performing under since his teens, Conor Oberst reverted to his birth name for his 2008 follow-up to 2007's Cassadaga. As he not only released the record under his own name but titled it Conor Oberst, it's hard not to think of the album as a new beginning or statement of purpose, as that's generally the case when a singer/songwriter splits from his main band, but this is such a low-key record it can't support such grand theories. But that subdued attitude is in fact a major difference between this and Bright Eyes albums, where every action tended to be over-amplified, a practice Oberst generally avoids here. Part of it is down to mere circumstance. Struck with one of his bursts of wanderlust, Oberst headed down to Mexico to cut the album, gathering together a collection of friends who he dubbed the Mystic Valley Band, a name bearing an uncanny resemblance to such '70s country-rock outfits as Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band. Naturally, this is a conscious move, as much of this tight 12-track album resides firmly within the confines of classic country-rock, whether it's a mellow ramble like "Danny Callahan" or the dust-kicking "I Don't Want to Die (In the Hospital)." These benefit greatly by the loose-limbed Mystic Valley Band, who infuse a great deal of warmth to this music, but their open-heartedness is a reflection of Oberst's subtle shift to relying on modest gestures instead of grand ones. Although he still has a tendency to shoehorn five-dollar words into every other phrase -- particularly when it comes time to write ballads -- he's not trying quite so hard here, letting his lyrics be almost as relaxed as his music. But the fact that the music does feel relaxed, even when it bears his classicist affectations, does make Conor Oberst markedly different than the music of Bright Eyes, and makes it a worthwhile project -- even if it proves to be a detour instead of a new beginning.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/05/2008
Label: Merge Records
UPC: 0673855034027
catalogNumber: 340
Rank: 153228

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Conor Oberst   Primary Artist,Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Foot Stomping
Janet Weiss   Vocals
Andy LeMaster   Vocals
Nik Freitas   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jason Boesel   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Foot Stomping
Nate Walcott   Organ,Piano,Electric Piano
Taylor Hollingsworth   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Foot Stomping
Macey Taylor   Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Foot Stomping
Corina Figueroa Escamilla   Vocals
Phil Schaffart   Vocals,Foot Stomping

Technical Credits

Gary Burden   Art Direction
Jenice Heo   Art Direction
Andy LeMaster   Engineer,Tape Echo
Jason Boesel   Composer
Conor Oberst   Composer,Producer

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