Willy Porter's greatest songwriting attribute lies in his quietly reverberating stories.
Willy Porter's greatest songwriting attribute lies in his quietly reverberating stories. On his fourth disc (his second for Six Degrees), rather than ply emotional immediacy, Porter draws his listeners in slowly with painstakingly drawn character portraits. In "Unconditional," he details a woman "holding her child on her bended knee," professing unwavering devotion to the flaws he'll likely develop. The singer/songwriter often accentuates such well-rendered tales with a spitfire-percussive acoustic guitar strumming and fiery color-chord picking, most notable here on "Breathe." Porter does a bit of mood hopping, moving evenly from the ebullient pop-rock of "If Love Were an Airplane" to a voice cracking with bitterness on the discordant "Everything But Sorry." Highlights also include the Mediterranean tang of "Big Yellow Pine," with guest Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull on bamboo flute and producer Emanuel Kiriakou on bouzouki.—KIT