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If you ever happen to be up too late for your own good, with the television on you’re likely to have come across the type of programming known as the “infomercial.” Surely, you’ve seen them at some point in your life. These are the twenty to sixty minute programs that explain in great detail, often with demonstrations and an over-rambunctious host, a new and revolutionary product that you most certainly need. This includes a collection of knives that cuts through absolutely anything known to man, cleaners that eat away stains and odors but certainly not your clothes or tile or whatever you are trying to clean and random do-hickeys that are sure to make your life easier somehow.

Following a similar method of presentation, Listener, with the support of DJ Equipt, presents to you, The Ozark Empire , an album that will solve all your problem, pay off all your debt, and, if you play it properly, it will even pet your cat. Those unfamiliar with Listener may be surprised by the tone and style of this release, as it features lyrics dripping with cynicism and honesty, delivered with an uncommon cadence over beats that seem straightforward. Leading off with the strains of a country song, Equipt interrupts the rhythm of ” Backwoods Preacher Man ” with some nice cuts on the turntables, signifying a breakdown in what seemed like a nice scenario.

From those opening moments and on throughout the album, Listener engages his audience with the tale of one man’s struggle for making his life meaningful. Like many of us, the main character embarks on this quest for meaning through his career and materialistic acquisitions. Unfortunately, he realizes far too late that these pursuits do little to satisfaction or real value. Rather than freedom, each level of success that he attains seems to entrap him further into debt and bring more complications. The closing track, ” Officer, You Have the Wrong Man… ” describes how his life eventually falls completely apart, as he reflects upon his life’s journey.

Equipt lays down a nice soundtrack for Listener to share these lyrics. The title track features a quirky rhythm with touches of harmonica, giving it a nice down home feel. Other tracks, like the banger ” I’ve Been Waiting… ,” the experimental ” You’re So Special… ,” and the funk-laced ” It’s Time for Drastic Measures… ” create an endearing texture to the music that keeps you tuned in and following along with the album. Crucial to the project, ” I Offer You My Dearest Apologies ” provides an anti-climactic moment, completely breaking the stride of the album and offering a spoken monologue that relates a distinct turning point in life of the main character.

Dark, honest, and heart-felt, the lyrics presented on The Ozark Empire speak deeply to the human condition. Listener brings a lot to the table by way of his delivery and the content of the tracks. Musically solid and well put together, the project takes a lot of digging to fully comprehend, but it’s well worth the effort.

Release Date: June 01, 2005

Label: Listener

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1. Backwoods Preacher Man.
2. Ozark Empire.
3. I’ve Been Waiting for This Moment for All of My Life, Hold On.
4. In the Woods You Know Where Your Enemies Are.
5. You Are So Special Because You Are So Unique.
6. I’d Like to Offer You My Dearest Apologies.
7. When No One Else Will Be Your Friend I Will Do the Job.
8. The Music That the Angels Do.
9. It’s Time for Drastic Measures They’re Not Taking You Seriously.
10. What Would You Do If I’m Not What I’m Supposed to Be.
11. Your Life Will Never Dull or Your Money Back.
12. Officer You Have the Wrong Man I Am Not That Man.