Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Ben Weaver is a hobo. A hobo with a heart of gold, but a hobo nonetheless. Or at least that's what he might like you to believe. He's got a drifter's contention and restlessness. He's never in one spot for long and somehow his constantly churning thoughts and metaphors follow the same kind of lifestyle, roaming everywhere there may be tracks and some open range. His very colorful way of looking at things is rustically magical, however blue it actually is.
Within his lyrics, Weaver packs so many punches and gems that it's almost impossible not to have something different to pay attention to every time you listen. He's here and he's there, traveling wherever the sneaking suspicions, his romantic heart and its beating ventricles take him.
His is a gruff, yet kaleidoscopic take on his miseries and all of his pestering uncertainties, his boundlessly inventive conclusions and explanations about why things go wrong, why he's troubled, why everyone's troubled and why the gods have wandering eyes. He comes off as a man who doesn't use Kleenex, but instead walks around with a handkerchief - some worked over square of checkered cloth - hanging out of his hind pocket. In the other hind pocket a copy of "The Illiad" of a collection of the Grimm Brothers fables pops out of the top. It seems like so many of the things that he's learned about himself could be learned by studying wildlife and its peculiarities, or can be applied to those same critters. He brings them all into the riddle - the red fox, the deer, the hawks, the crows, the alligators and the owls. They all have something to offer the story, adding to the moral and enhancing the finer details. There's his explanation of the stars - as the tiny scars that were incurred by the dark black night's velvet awning when the Gods - those called upon from Mt. Olympus - were playing darts. He'd surely find a fitting use for lightning bolts in that game of darts between the colossal figures.
With his crisp and descriptive ways, Weaver puts his vocals hot in the mix and behind him there's almost a cacophony of sounds skittering and joining in to be a part of the wardrobe. It's as if everything that touches him and everything that's around him at anytime leaves an indelible mark on his memory and affects him in some minor or major way.
Everything leaves a depression and Weaver has found that he's unable to ignore the depressions. He chooses to learn from them as much as he can until they iron themselves out. He pays attention to the unsuspecting rabbit resting on its haunches, chewing through clover, with its back turned and its ears tuned. He wonders what it could be thinking and then the thoughts poached as a leaf cracks and that cotton tail bounds away in a jagged line, with its blood racing faster than a strobe light. Weaver shakes some slivers of knowledge or insight from whatever happened there and then sits on it, letting it hatch into a full grown story that explains more things than he really knows that to do with. Then he's off again, going to all of the places far away from here that he's warned he'll be going, finding all of the dead people who only look as if they're sleeping, who know how to deal appropriately with the winter's cold. Cold and the sleepers, those jittery nerves - that's Weaver's poetry.
*Essay originally published March 2009