Reviewed by Ian Morales.
Keegan DeWitt is one of those beloved indie artists that would often get lost in the shuffle here at Red River Noise. With the stacks of indie albums and EPs that come through here, it can be difficult for a lesser-known artist to hold our attention. DeWitt will not be one of the artists at risk for being passed up after listening to his seven-song debut EP, Nothing Shows.
A native of Portland, Oregon, now residing in Nashville, DeWitt falls into the indie-folk realm but with more orchestral elements. Each song is a beautifully written story that deals with subjects such as idealism, youthfulness and disappointment. That cinematic writing style must come naturally for DeWitt at this point, after having worked on film scores for independent movies, including SXSW standout Cold Weather.
Musically, this is one of the best indie-folk albums since Balmorhea’s Constellations or A.A. Bondy’s When The Devil’s Loose. Aside from the beautiful piano melodies, the orchestral arrangement provides listeners with an excellent backdrop to DeWitt’s Costello-like vocals. On “Michael Bizot,” DeWitt is joined by the Nashville-based singer/songwriter Madi Diaz to complete what is a near-perfect ballad. After hearing it, you think surely someone in Hollywood will pick this song for a montage scene in which a movie character is afraid of losing the love of their life.
Not all songs on Nothing Shows are movie-friendly ballads. The EP’s standout track, “Say La La,” is an upbeat, hand-clapping sing-along ready for any occasion. You can’t help but chant “We swam in the water” along with the 20 voices on the recording.
Another upbeat track, “Heart Beats Loud,” falls flat, an indication that DeWitt is at his best when he pours his thoughts and emotions out slowly, with an orchestra backing him.
Keegan DeWitt | Nothing Shows | Daytrotter Record Barn | Release: July 13, 2010 | Rating: 7.5 of 10