Stuart Oliver & The Desert Angels

March 19, 2013 |

Sheddin’ Every Skin
(Old Bisbee Records)

If you’re free on Sundays and music is your temple of wry reflections tied to sin and hopeful, redemptive contemplation… then spin this album. It’s a collection of 14 stories that are beautifully composed, performed and arranged. Stuart Oliver paints notes and words on time and space, ageless motifs of humanity’s dukkha (nature of suffering) and deliverance.

To rip right from the press release, this is “a self-produced 70s country-rock and psychedelic folk journey through Oliver’s colorful past, featuring ethereal harmonies by his sister Angela Taylor, Kate Becker and Silver Thread Trio’s Laura Kepner-Adney. Sam and Danielle Panther are on loan from Bisbee’s Green Machine, and Ryan Janac (Sunday Afternoon, Luca) is a mainstay on drums.” Other auditory contributions come from drummer Jim Glinski, bassist Peter Schnittman, Deanna Cross on viola, Mark Holdaway’s kalimba, banjo by Rudy Cortese and Louis Levinson sliding on pedal steel.

This is unapologetic cosmic Americana – evocative storytelling delicately carved from pain – musically and lyrically heart rendering. It can sit on the same shelf with The Byrds’ “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” and Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”.

Stuart Oliver’s songs are “inspired by coming to terms with tumultuous family, romantic, and cultural (also religious) relationships. Expatriating to the desert from the deep South was a key influence,” Oliver explicates. “Most of the songs have a mystical, spiritual element – the only way I can come to terms with said tumultuous relationships.”

It’s a process of mucking through the darkness of utter heartbreak to transitioning beyond it and into the light as a wiser being, being open to a beginner’s mind while still – when appropriate – donning the calloused cloak.

The bottom line is, don’t suffer your sorrows. Move through and past ‘em; create a new reality of healing and understanding in this temporal existence.

Find musical meditation and redemption at the “Sheddin’ Every Skin” CD release show on Saturday, March 30 at Café Passe’s super gorgeous and intimate patio, 415 N. 4th Ave. All ages, 8 p.m., $5 suggested donation. Get more information at

Category: MUSIC