Embedded in rushing tape noise— the soft but suffocating sadness of Kerwin’s compositions slowly creep in.
When he composed and recorded these songs in Asheville, NC he captured the poetic yearning every young man pines for. Few have the depth of intuition to convert such delicate emotions into a beautiful and haunting release such as this.
At times there are echoes of Elliot Smith, Kurt Cobain, Townes Van Zandt and Nick Drake— all the martyred saints of Kerwin’s youth. He struggles with his inheritance but only threatens to fall into convention. Throughout the release the decay of the cassettes he recorded on, the soft warble of birds in the landscape and his shuffling, jumping and shimmering guitar keep these heavy songs from feeling flat.
At its best the tape is like Gerard Manely Hopkins’ or Oscar Wilde’s words resounding softly over ancient hills.
A song for guitar struck up in a strange tavern, The elder-bushes there, a November day long past, Familiar steps on the twilit stair, the sight of beams turned brown, An open window where a sweet hope lingered- All this, O God, is so unutterable that one falls shattered to one’s knees.
O, how dark is this night. A crimson flame Died in my mouth. In the silence The line stringed music of the fearful soul dies away. Stay, when drunk with wine, your head sinks to the gutter.