Tuesday, July 22, at the Westport Coffee House.

Jeff Hanson 

Tuesday, July 22, at the Westport Coffee House.

Now this ... this is a bill for anyone who ever ached for Stephen Bishop's guitar-strumming, chicken-bearing Belushi victim in Animal House. Jeff Hanson (pictured) and Denison Witmer simply have more nerve endings than you or I -- they're extremely sensitive. But there's nothing wrong with that if it results in an album as fine as Hanson's Son. The title might be a coy reassurance to listeners that the high, delicate voice on the disc belongs to a man. (Hanson's voice has been likened to "a female Elliott Smith," a fair approximation of the sound but a frightening mental picture.) It's the voice of a choirboy, but the affecting songs don't settle for adolescent angst.

For the confessional songwriter worried he's said too much, there's always the covers album. Philadelphia's Witmer, a 26-year-old wunderkind of the confessional form with influences obvious (Jackson Browne) and unlikely (Graham Nash), turns the brief Recovered into one of the year's most compelling diary entries. His version of Browne's "These Days" is the best take on the song since Gregg Allman's thirty years ago, and a cover of Big Star's "Nightime" makes a convincing case for the song as a folk standard. Witmer's sweet, narcotized tenor recalls Browne's voice but isn't weighed down by Browne's smugness. And his own songs are good, too. Where else could this be but at a coffee house?

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