Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band/Outer South


To All The Lights In The WindowsConor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band is the name taken by Conor Oberst and his backing band, which is composed of Nik Freitas (guitar), Taylor Hollingsworth (guitar), Macey Taylor (bass), Nate Walcott (keyboards/organ) and Jason Boesel (drums).

Outer South is the fifth solo studio album by American musician Conor Oberst and the first to be credited to Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. It is Oberst’s first solo album to include songs written and sung by his bandmates. Nik Freitas, Taylor Hollingsworth and Jason Boesel each contributed two songs apiece, and bassist Macey Taylor sings a song written for him by Oberst. The album was released through Merge Records on May 5, 2009.

The entire album was made available on April 7, 2009, to stream on the Merge Records website for a limited time.

Slowly [Oh So Slowly]—-Beginning with a nice steel guitar sound that reeks of Alt-Country, the vocal enters and further cements the sentiment. This is wonderfully vivid and warm. I was never really into Conor until Monsters Of Folk came along…this does not disappoint…if you liked that release, you will love this.

To All The Lights In The Windows—-This is freakin’ magnificent….I though that the majority of the MOF release was all M. Ward….this opens up m,y eyes and allows me to know how important Conor was to the entire thing. This is wonderfully contagious…it will stay in your brain…this is emotional…the lyrics are as vivid as a museum painting…and the music all come together to create a moment in time you can not easily forget. This is exquisite!

Big Black Nothing—-This is just brilliant…this is better than anything I have heard in the past few months coming out of the Alternative music market. the vocal is not Conor, but still carries a remarkable warmth. The Alt-country feel of the song allows you tap you foot to a nice steel guitar that has a classic country sound.. Think of Tom Petty without the nasal stuff going on and you have a great feel of this song.

Air Mattress—-I really do not much care for this…the vocal is not Conor, but rather a band member that I’m not sure of…it tries to hard to sound like a Dylan knockoff that really fails to materialize…ugh…..

Cabbage Town—-Oberst returns just in time to vocal duties and you again fully realize why you love this guy. This is beautiful…even though the track is a bit more upbeat and raucous, the vocal still has a remarkable warmth and solace that you will turn to over and over and over and over…this is wonderful!

Ten Women—-Wow…this is remarkable…Oberst delivers a vocal that is full of ghosts of the past and drips with the loss of the present all in one line. The gentle delivery, accented by the backdrop of other band members adds so much to the feel of the song. This is a weeper…if it catches you in the right mood. The slide guitar is magnificent and the sadness runs through every single instrument that plays….truly wonderful.

Difference Is Time—-With a gentle and easy feel, the vocal again is not Conor but is pretty damn great none the less. This is full of classic Country sounds…they don’t even try to fit in the mainstream and it only serves to bring a smile to my face. This is remarkably emotive and wonderfully delivered with a nice sense of sadness and joy all crunched up into one masterful composition. I love this stuff.

Nikorette—-A bit more upbeat, this is just classic stuff because it reminds me so much of a certain MOF track. Oberst delivers a vocal that is full of emotion and energy…you cannot deny the vivid imagery that he paints with his lyrics…this is a wonderful talent that he uses to the full extent. I love this stuff…my Black Metal friends would call me a poseur…oh well, I like as I like.

White Shoes—-Acoustic and full of the most desolate Springsteen sounds you can imagine, Conor comes through with his vocal delivered with a slight echo…making the song sound even more lonely and empty. This is achingly beautiful and layered with lines and lines of words that make your brain ponder and re-ponder the meanings and sentiments of the song. This brought magical tears to my eyes and only served to remind me of my loneliness. Brilliant.

Bloodline—-Returning to a more upfront and alt-country feel, this is bright and shiny and delivered just in time. this breaks up the release rather nicely…allowing you to recover from the devastation of the previous few tracks. this is nicely delivered with a nice and sunny outlook…even though the lyrics are not full of positive and exciting words…just though provoking. I love this stuff.

Spoiled—-Beginning with a nice pickin’ and a grinnin’ instrumental line, Oberst enters with a vocal that is almost rushed….filling every single silent period with one line after another. This is wonderful…I love the chorus…this is full and delivered with a great emotion as Conor ponders why enough is never enough with his frustration over an unsatisfied partner. This is brilliant…I get so much from this song.

Worldwide—-At times, depending on my mood, it seems as if this song were written just for me. Conor delivers lines that are personal yet remarkably applicable to the everyman…perhaps that is the appeal of this music. The music is a classic Alternative Country style delivery that warms you soul…the steel guitar is very present and the snare drum is used more than anything else…this is a magnificent story song that I am still convinced is about me!

Roosevelt Room—-This is delivered with such a bluesy aggressive nature that it almost seems out-of-place on this record. Regardless, it only goes to show the diversity of Oberst and this is again reminiscent of some of the tracks on the MOF release. This is aggressive and delivered with a great blues style guitar that somehow manages not to get on my nerves. Wonderful.

Eagle On A Pole—-A really nice return to the more introspective type of music that this band makes and pleases me so much. Conor reaches way down into his gut at times to deliver a vocal that is deep and emotional. this is magnificent…I still refuse to understand why this guy is not a huge recording star and just manages to stay alive thanks to independent labels. This is some of the best stuff I have heard in a long time…perhaps I have a new love affair as M. Ward falls to the wayside and allows room for Conor. This is brilliant….I love this man!

I Got The Reason, No. 2—-Wow….this is just wonderful. The slide guitar that introduces the song makes me warm and tingly all over….the gentle flowing nature of the song makes me hanf=g my head and listen with clear intensity. Conor enters with his vocal and delivers line after line that resonates with my very sould…this is intense, real and without a doubt one of the best tracks on this release. This is magnificent…when the song opens up a bit it becomes even more lively but  never lacks any of the emotion despite the fact. this is wonderful…making me think about the past…the present and the future. Wonderful!

Snake Hill—-Wow…what the fuck!!!! This is great….with a huge dose of bluegrass and the vocals that remind you of the deepest of the backwoods, the band is magnificent. this is not a vocal from Conor, but it is still one of the best on the release. This is magnificent…you must hear this….want a copy…let me know.

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

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