A decade and a half into his musical career, singer-guitarist Denison Witmer has released a self-titled album, and for Witmer, Denison Witmer comes as an occasion to reflect on the unusual lessons of a life spent as a quiet, underground success.
“Looking over the arc of a career, there are moments when you got it right,” he says, “and moments where you didn’t. For me, music’s always about the process. It’s not always about the final product; it’s more about the journey. You work song by song and album by album in pursuit of something—I really try to trust that approach.”
Building the Honey Jar studio with producer and collaborator Devin Greenwood has made it possible for him to create a recording using the same patient, intuitive processes that have driven his songwriting—and his career. Witmer was able to bring in trusted performers like Greenwood, William Fitzsimmons, Dawn Landes, and Sufjan Stevens, and give them free rein to realize his music.
The result is an organic musical self-portrait, drawing inspiration and consolation from sources as different as Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and the life of knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey, and weaving them into what is arguably Witmer’s most direct and personal album to date.
Denison Witmer is out today on Asthmatic Kitty Records.
Be sure to check out Denison on American Songwriter, where he’s Writer of the Week.