There are very few that I can listen to more than 1 album at a time – Bruce Cockburn, Jackson Browne, Boz Scaggs, John Mellencamp, Ray Davies, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Steve Earle, Archie Fisher, Danny Sorentino, John Hiatt, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young are among them- these are folks I can listen to all day – they are great writers and storytellers. With his latest album release, “Catch That Train”, the undiscovered Americana treasure, David T Dunn is clearly trying to get on that list with his ability, to weave a good tale and kick up a musical groove to match. While much of today’s so-called roots based music is filled with songs detailing long drives on back country roads with a beer in the console, this album actually inspires you do actually get in your car and drive. It is haunting, grooving and a modern interpretation of a classic blues afflicted Americana album.
Listening to David T Dunn sing, makes you feel every single word, raw and real. From the time the needle drops on the riveting titular track, “Catch That Train”, Dunn captures every feeling you’ve ever asked for in a song. Even the most seemingly organic contemporary Americana albums can sometimes show evidence of a checklist.
Eager to prove both currency and adherence to tradition, these recordings range over predetermined territory, showing familiarity with Southern musical landmarks like the blues, honky-tonk, country and rock. There’s some picking, acoustic strumming and power-chord riffing, as well as soulful moments that hit purposeful transcendence.
The best artists perform this eclecticism with skill and passion. David T Dunn delivers each with a remarkable lack of showiness, so that each one feels like much more than an exercise. Dunn sings with the power of a classic blues-rocker, but modulates his rawness with a great sense of soul phrasing and a seasoned balladeer’s ability to scale down.
His melismatic flights on the choruses never feel showy; they flow logically from the previous moments when he’s held back, and it’s evident on the melodic “Whispering Angels”, which is backed up by some tight harmonies.
Elsewhere, such as on “Until The Next Time”, Dunn artfully employs his skills as both an eloquent songwriter and more than able balladeer. On “Hey Hey Marcella”, the band picks up the pace with Dunn’s wind in the sails, applying his full-throated melodic spirit – this is a bar-band singalong with a swaggering chorus and a scalding guitar solo.
Remember those hot summer nights when you’d sit with your grandparents on the porch, a cold glass of ice tea in hand, swatting at mosquitoes and watching the sun go down while the sound of blues wafted from the kitchen radio? If your memory is fuzzy then you need to tune into “No Rain No More” and “Let Me Free My Mind”.
Each one pf these songs is charming, sturdy and well put together, evidence of an artist who is at the very top of his game and ready to reach even higher. David T Dunn seems to have crafted a varied, blissfully concise, and entertaining Americana-styled album without breaking a sweat.
Fusing roots rock, country, and a healthy dose of blues, we now have an undeniably smooth dose of organic music that can’t be passed up thanks both to its storytelling and strong musicianship.
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