Music Review: To the Weak and the Weary

Review by Josh Aterovis

ToTheWeakAndTheWearyA driving guitar is joined by evocative cello and the singer asserts, “No one wants to hear a sad song.” It’s an interesting beginning to an album that is mostly full of sad songs. Impressively, though, the overall feeling isn’t one of depression, thanks in large part to the fact that the main theme seems to be finding hope in a dark world. Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings have crafted a lush, string-filled album that offers a balm to “The Weak and the Weary.” That opening track is called “Alone,” but singer/songwriter Eli August goes on to assure us “you’re not alone” in the chorus.

That tone of hopeful melancholy continues throughout the album. The next two tracks, “The Sounds of Trains” and “The Living World,” both explore themes of loss and yearning. The fourth song, “Warm,” offers a welcome jaunty note that comes with a bit of a gypsy feel. “If your heart has been torn, don’t lose those memories, keep them warm.”

Things slow back down with “Fool’s Philosophy,” about a love gone wrong. “Where No One Knows” finds our narrator searching for a place where he can find a little peace, far from the beaten path. “Kind” picks up the tempo again as Eli loses his faith in humanity.

Track number 8, “Petals,” one of the album highlights, keeps up the upbeat feeling despite moody lyrics like “let the blight eat the petals and your leaves” and “there’s no redemption from the way that we were.” Another standout, “Riverbend,” has some of my favorite lyrics on a lyrically rich album. “Take me down to where the river bends, hold me closer than I’ve been, take me down to where the city lights are fireflies.” In “Rise Above,” Eli hits his most hopeful note yet, singing “I want to rise above this world, I want to learn not to assume, I want to change, you know I do.”

He draws the album to a close with “Ghosts in the Dark,” a beautifully simple song that pairs his voice with just a plucked guitar that almost sounds more like a banjo. He pulls his theme together, echoing back to the opening song with the lyrics, “if life’s not loved, then it’s no life at all, to the weak and the weary this is a call, if you think you’re alone, well, friend, I’m with you, let’s find a road and follow wherever it leads us to.”

According to his website,, Eli August considers himself dark Americana. He often performs at steampunk events and conventions — he’ll be at Steampunk@Gettysburg in March — and with a description like “devoted to romantics and those who reflect upon their days with a certain longing for the past,” it’s easy to see the connection, but he has an appeal that will likely reach beyond the community. If you’re a fan of thoughtful, dark folk music, this is an album for you.

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3 Responses to “Music Review: To the Weak and the Weary”

  1. Great review! Been a long time fan of Eli’s, and I think this review is spot on. Just pointing out a typo of sorts, in his song “Rise Above,” the first part of the chorus is “I want to rise above this ROOM” instead of “world.” Just thought you’d like to know. 🙂

    Thanks again for reviewing this fine album!!

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