The Key Studio Sessions: Denison Witmer
He’s never been one to loudly call attention to himself; Denison Witmer is more the contemplative troubadour type, a student of the introverted 70s folk-pop of Cat Stevens and Jackson Browne. (Or perhaps more contemporary practitioners like The Innocence Mission and Red House Painters.) Even so, the Philadelphia release show celebrating his latest full length, The Ones Who Wait, came to World Café Live earlier this month with barely any fanfare. Wait – what’s that, you ask? Witmer has a new record? Indeed he does, and it follows in step with the hushed-but-heavy style the Lancaster-bred, South Philly-based songwriter has honed for the past decade-plus. Let the haunting build of “Every Passing Day” be your exhibit A: Witmer and his sharp live band (featuring much-missed Philly expat Devin Greenwood on bass) build the mood over six minutes while singing frankly about fearing death and the unknown. Wow. Witmer also remains a top-notch melancholic romantic – see “Two and a Glass Rose.” These songs were recorded at WXPN before the players took the World Café Lilve stage; their next regional show is on June 3rd out in Witmer’s ancestral homeland, Millersville University’s Grand Salon with The Beggar Folk.