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There are tracks where Oberst withdraws back into his more customary arms-length, storytelling mode – the Frank Lloyd Wright paean Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch), and the politically fuelled A Little Uncanny – but the lasting impression of Ruminations is of an artist that has forced himself to take a break from the showbiz circus, and reconnect with himself.The ultimate result of that process remains to be seen, but in the meantime, it has left us with a beautifully rendered, intimately personal collection of very fine songs indeed.It is, however, on the track Counting Sheep that the greatest impact is made.Opening with the lines, “Closing my eyes, counting sheep/Gun in my mouth, trying to sleep,” it is a genuinely shocking song, and testament to the honesty with which this album has been conceived.According to Mr Oberst's lawsuit, Ms Faircloth posted accusations on website that the singer songwriter raped her a decade ago in North Carolina after his brother, who was her English teacher at school, introduced the two at one of the singer's concerts.The 33-year-old musician says the media coverage that resulted from the three posts in the comments section of a blog has damaged his career, especially in New York where most of the major music publishing houses have their headquarters.

By the ripe old age of 23, he was dating starlets, recording albums at mystical retreat centers and venting about politics on late night television -- all of which signaled not only his popularity but also that of so-called indie culture.On Barbary Coast (Later), he sings romantically about feeling like Paul Gauguin, apparently relating to the great artist’s voyages into exotic worlds for inspiration, before eventually concluding that returning home is more important still.On a similar note, The Rain Follows the Plow closes with the line, “I know where I belong”.What emerged was an album that has allowed him to take stock and reflect on his life’s work and his place in the music industry.When he sings on that opening track: “In a courtroom, sweat rolling down my back/It’s a bad dream, I have it seven times a week/No it’s not me, but I’m the one who has to die,” we are immediately granted more of Oberst’s privacy than ever before.The theme continues on Gossamer Thread, on which he sings about “not wanting to eat or get out of bed”, and “trying to recall what the therapist said”.For long-time fans, this openness will be striking.Conor Oberst filed the lawsuit yesterday claiming he was libelled by the woman, who he has identified as Janie Faircloth, who claimed she was sexually assaulted by the singer-songwriter at a 2003 concert.An attorney for Oberst filed the civil lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court, with the legal documents claiming Ms Faircloth was a liar who made 'despicable, false, outrageous, and defamatory statements' about Oberst last December.A more reasonable comparison with Dylan would actually be in his deceptively skilled ability as a melodist.As is the case with so many great lyricists, Oberst tends not to get sufficient credit in this regard, and certainly a track like Til St Dymphna Kicks Us Out will lock into your subconscious as much as any classic pop tune.

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  1. Conor Oberst has long been considered one of the more mysterious and enigmatic auteurs of independent music, dating back to his breakthrough records at the turn of.

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