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As Commander Venus’ time came to an end, Oberst’s home recordings took on a new focus, combining the hushed intimacy of folk with the emotional volatility of punk.

Both his songwriting and his increasingly distinct vocal delivery — a quaking, often unbridled, underwater vibrato — radiated a post-adolescent anxiety that, in the event of 2000’s , saw Bright Eyes (and by extension, Saddle Creek) develop such a ravenous cult following that Oberst would never return to the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he studied English before dropping out to tour full-time.

“I’d only had it for two years, but I’m sure my technique isn’t very sophisticated.” Oberst has just stepped out from underneath the lights of a small shared studio at CBS Interactive in midtown Manhattan, where he and his guitar-playing cousin-in-law, Steve Bartolomei, have just finished performing two songs from his forthcoming solo LP, , for a video segment to air on

As part of a highly concentrated, four-day press blitz in New York, he and Bartolomei are making the radio rounds, uptown and down, satellite and online.

“I was never good at math.” In December of last year, a then-27-year-old North Carolina woman named Joanie Faircloth left a string of comments on the website xo Jane, in response to an essay by a woman who had been abused by her boyfriend, a musician.