It’s always refreshing to come across a collection of songs that strike as those of a songwriter first, as opposed to an advocate for or enforcer of any particular genre. The music throughout this album is in keeping with the Americana or country rock sound for the most part, but the very first thing to grab you is likely to be the artist’s ideas, and the warm, genuine sound of his voice.
The opening and title track features a crisp and professional array of instrumentation, an organic and uplifting energy – again, adding to the realness – and some hopeful and inspiring lyrics. Immediately after this the melancholy mood of My Son steps forwards, and the contrast is immense. The story and the general vibe of this piece – including the gentle yet deeply emotional performance style – are just about the very opposite of the former track. The lyrics are intensely provocative on occasion, the tale leaves you hanging on every moment, and the music beautifully supports this by leaving plenty of space within which you can really take it all on board.
This variation in subject matter is something that continues throughout the project, underlining consistently the idea that Danny Everitt is a songwriter, first and foremost – that these are the core feelings and thoughts of a human being, with a unique perspective, and a uniquely personal string of experiences to his name. You don’t often get that with some of the more mainstream or style driven albums. It’s compelling, endearing, and very easy to connect with.
As the songs present themselves there are musical moments from a range of influences, though the overall sound contains an instrumental and vocal thread that confidently holds the project together. There is a flicker of blues rock from time to time, Get The Hook, for example. There’s a touch of acoustic folk or poetic darkness with Rosalie, another deeply personal song jam packed with real feelings. The accordion in this case and the Spanish guitar sound bring about a notably European kind of atmosphere. As always, the storytelling is on point – so well crafted, and supported by the music at every step.
Arrangement is important when it comes to a collection of songs and it’s been well executed with Dream Big. There are some big moments of rock and roll inspired musicality, and there are perhaps equally as many of the softer, more instrumentally raw tracks that lay bare the songwriter’s voice and lyricism. In every case, the songs have been placed so as to maximise their impact. The upbeat energy of She Don’t Mess With My Buzz is successfully soothed thereafter by the mellow and reflective The Tables Have Turned. There’s some beautiful imagery in the latter and the minimal musicality allows these moments to really capture your attention.
Following this, One Good Chance offers the perfect balance between the high and the low; the country twang comes as a welcome addition to the project, and the subject matter furthers the somewhat recurring theme of hope. Is There Anymore Gold keeps the mood similar but adds a slightly vulnerable story line, there’s a touch of sadness lingering in the air but it’s not the sort that will bring you down – the instrumentation and the melody have a pure and peaceful ambiance about them.
Work It Out is a great song, it’s difficult to pinpoint the details of why – it simply has the chemistry right. The guitar solos, the vocal melody, the mellow yet very full wall of music that engages the spaces between lyrics – it all just works. The hook is fantastic, easy going, memorable, stylish, and placed within a structure that follows more of a blues pathway than a standard pop or rock song. Then you get the much more pop and rock sound of Slipping Away, a song that is easily accessible and likely to be effective in any number of settings, with any number of audiences.
The final song of the project is a poignant one. Love Is For All Times has an air of rock ballad nostalgia to it, but it also offers this honest, believable, even slightly tired or emotionally drained performance that showcases some beautifully mellow moments – those rare breaks within the voice, the meeting of the whispered and the sung, stretching later on into the strength of a fully soulful delivery. It’s a stunning vocal performance and the lyrics are fantastic. A definite highlight and a powerful way to finish.