Conor Oberst is running on dangerous ground: getting his first Dylan comparisons at 12, frolicking with Winona Ryder, releasing two separate albums at once. Didn't he learn anything from Ryan Adams' mistakes? It's a good thing he can write such haunting, intimate songs. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
(released simultaneous with Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
) is the album the Omaha native has always threatened to make, channeling his country rock influences into articulate, witty ballads that come to life with gorgeous harmonies supplied by Emmylou Harris. The tumbling "We Are Nowhere and It's Now" might be his first actual masterpiece, while the words of album closer "Road To Joy" ("I could've been a famous singer if I had someone else's voice/ But failure's always sounded better") indicate that Oberst might have his head screwed on straight after all. -- Aidin Vaziri
The first of two albums (as in, the first to be laid down on tape) is titled I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning; a country-tinged mlange of Conor's finest acoustic songs, featuring guest vocal appearances from Emmylou Harris and Jim James (My Morning Jacket).