Withered Hand: Good News

"Every sunrise I see takes the piss out of me/And there's cold tea in our loving cup," sings Dan Willson on his band's debut. A crack-voiced folkie who was raised an evangelical Christian, Willson warbles about crises of faith, sexual frustration and assorted bummers over wobbly folk grooves. But as melodic wimps go, he's up there with fellow Scots Belle and Sebastian; his tunes are full of warm, woozy singsong charm. And he balances religious-seeker earnestness with a healthy sense of humor – when he sings, "I beat myself off when I sleep on your futon/I walk in the rain with my secondhand suit on," on the very pretty waltz " Religious Songs," he's a sad sack you can't help but root for.

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