Outer South

Studio Album by released in 2009

Outer South review

The collective work

In spite of his young age, American singer-songwriter Conor Oberst has an impressive list of achievements in the musical world. He was previously known as the leader of different commands, but some time ago Oberst devoted himself to the new project - The Mystic Valley Band. This band includes the artist’s colleagues and his friends and they are guitarists Nik Freitas and Taylor Hollingsworth, drummer Jason Boesel, Nate Walcott (keyboards and organ) and bassist Macey Taylor. Oberst has already recorded a self-titled disc with them. They all moved to Mexico in order to record the thing. However, this time the album Outer South features the songs both by Conor and his band mates. That is why the artist justly released this long-play not as his personal record, but as the collective work with The Mystic Valley Band. So we can call the disc Outer South a unique edition, because Oberst put the songs, written and performed by his accompanying musicians, on the album – all in all, six tracks were created by Freitas, Hollingsworth and Boesel. Besides, one of the tracks, written by Conor Oberst, was sung by The Mystic Valley Band’s bassist Macey Taylor. Drawing a line, the disc Outer South can be rightfully called a collective creation by Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band, as all the performers took an active part in its production.

Road songs on Outer South

Well, the theme of the road, path and traveling is one of the most actively explored topics and is as widely used as an old track. However, if only a really talented man picks it, and we see a talented person in Conor Oberst for sure, even such a banal idea gets colorful and vivid. Especially it is so, if this idea is supported by a band of musicians, who spent the majority of the time touring. Such concord we can see on the disc Outer South. Stomping country rock tracks Slowly (Oh So Slowly) and Nikorette, which are the classics of live shows of the band, are sure to amuse the listeners. By the way, the catchy tune Slowly (Oh So Slowly) is written by Oberst in collaboration with Nate Walcott. The ballad White Shoes became one of the most piercing and touching moments on the disc, it narrates of the life of a traveling through pubs lonely singer. Such tracks as the playful Ten Women and epic country-rock album closer Snake Hill, will also catch your attention. The album also contains the new vision of the song Eagle On A Pole, which was earlier featured on the disc Conor Oberst. Songs Air Mattress and Cabbage Town are wonderful specimen of the Americana genre, while the tune Big Black Nothing by Nik Freitas is worth of many praises. The theme of politics, which is one of the hottest issues for Conor Oberst, is touched upon the vivid rocker Roosevelt Room.

The untypical album for a singer-songwriter

The Mystic Valley Band was formed accidentally during the studio sessions in Mexico, where all the members went to record the solo disc by Conor Oberst. It continued its life in the same unusual manner with the release of Outer South. The artists toured together much, thus the album shows us a well-played band, which also makes impressing track instrumentation – passionate guitars, the glorious organ, delicate drums… Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band really made a grand job. Due to the fact that Outer South features songs of different artists, the work became multi-structured and many-sided essence. Although it includes sixteen tracks all in all, two of which exceed the length of six minutes, it will become a delight for the listener’s year, not a testament, in spite of the presence of a couple of filler songs. As for the band leader personally, Conor Oberst has undoubtedly grown up as a performer during this year – his vocals became more powerful, while the lines got sharper. May be, The Mystic Valley Band assisted the artist in this matter. The disc is credited by Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band, but we all know that Outer South is Conor Oberst’s child firstly. However, he took an untypical decision for a singer with a backing band – Conor gave all the members an opportunity to include their songs on a disc and have their solo moments. No doubt, it only benefited Outer South.