Welcome to the Welcome Wagon

Welcome to the Welcome Wagon

by Welcome Wagon

CD

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Overview

Although the Welcome Wagon roll their wheels over familiar territory, the band's debut is still somewhat bewildering. At their root, these songs flaunt little more than homespun melodies and basic chord progressions, featuring 12 gospel-influenced narratives in the folk tradition. Such minimalism forms the basis of the Welcome Wagon, whose two members -- the husband-and-wife duo of Rev. Vito Aiuto and Monique Aiuto -- are content to keep things short and simple. On the other hand, collaborator/producer Sufjan Stevens rarely abides by those rules; instead, he designs towering buildings out of the Aiutos' simple structures, adding flourishes to all the surfaces and strengthening the foundation with layers of horns, choirs, and pianos. At its most ornate, Welcome to the Welcome Wagon simply sounds like Stevens' own record, leaving the Aiutos with little identity of their own. This is especially evident on "Sold! To the Nice Rich Man," a knockout song that nevertheless sounds like a reheated leftover from the Illinoise sessions. Full of minor-key soul and brassy trumpets, it's one of the most appetizing songs here -- yet it's also indicative of the producer's authority, which doesn't quite augment the Welcome Wagon's sound as much as commandeer it. That's not to say that Stevens always occupies the spotlight; on tracks like "He Never Said a Mumblin' Word" and "Deep Were His Wounds, and Red," the Aiutos regain control with an emphasis on stark, gospel-gothic lyrics. These are songs of crucifixion, of loss, of Christianity's melancholic side, and they sound worlds apart from the orchestral, summery numbers conducted by the producer. So while Welcome to the Welcome Wagon admittedly sounds its best when peppered with swelling strings and choir crescendos, the Aiutos' heart seems to rest in the simpler numbers, creating an album that's often strong but nevertheless conflicted.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/09/2008
Label: Asthmatic Kitty
UPC: 0656605604527
catalogNumber: 56045
Rank: 154466

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Welcome Wagon   Primary Artist
Sufjan Stevens   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Electric Guitar,Ukulele,Vocals
Michael Atkinson   French Horn
Casey Foubert   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Electric Guitar
James McAlister   Percussion,Drums
Monique Aiuto   Harmonica,Glockenspiel,Vocals
Vito Aiuto   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Isaac Wardell   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Kelley McRae   Choir, Chorus
C.J. Camerieri   Trumpet
Ben Lanz   Trombone
Jay Foote   Vocals,Upright Bass
Natalie Abell   Choir, Chorus
Elizabeth Dishman   Choir, Chorus
Alex Foote   Electric Guitar,Vocals,Lap Steel Guitar
Sarah Fullen   Choir, Chorus
Andrew Rose Gregory   Choir, Chorus
Evan Gregory   Choir, Chorus
Michael Gregory   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Lou Reed   Composer
W. Johnson   Composer
Johnny Marr   Composer
Morrissey   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Sufjan Stevens   Engineer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Lenny Smith   Composer
Monique Aiuto   Art Direction,Illustrations
Vito Aiuto   Composer
Jessica Dessner   Cover Portrait
James Montgomery   Composer
Vito Aiuto   Composer
Psalter of the United Presbyterian Church of North America   Composer
Mercer's Cluster of Spiritual Songs   Composer
Daniel Smith   Composer

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