Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marshall Dane - One Of These Days

Marshall Dane's latest album One Of These Days is infused with some of the best aspects of classic country music that is so rarely present in the modern country music of our times. Too often country music is watered down and/or highly over-produced to play to a mainstream audiences. On top of that, the lyrics of modern country music are too often cliched, stereotyped, and just unoriginal. While this album still sounds very produced and polished, the "shiny finish" of the recordings doesn't detract from the exceptional heart and soul that Marshall Dane brings to his compositions.

Another side of this album is the rock edge that comes through so much of the excellently performed instrumentation. The first track on the album, "Take You Home to Mama," is immediately reminiscent of Bob Segar or CCR with a guitar riff worthy of any of your favorite classic rock songs. Marshall's crisp and strong vocals are backed by an impressive set of harmonies at the very first note and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. It should be noted that Marshall is a Canadian artist which results in an unexpected voice for country music, one that has just the right balance between twang, rock n' roll and soul.

"Stay Up Late" has lyrics that fall a bit too far on the "mushy" side of the spectrum for my tastes, playing somewhat like a rom-com for country music fans or country's answer to "Your Body is a Wonderland." That being said, the composition and and melodies are very infectious. As soon as the melody kicks in, it's pretty hard not to fall in line with this upbeat and romantic tune.

The title track, "One of These Days" is a very hopeful and powerful ballad with a carpe diem like message. The title is a bit misleading as you would think they're using this trope as a common colloquialism, but instead, the lyrics are saying that today, right now is "one of these days." It's a clever usage of such a common figure of speech, turning it on it's head to mean something totally different.

"Alcohol Abuse" is one of my favorite songs on the album. It is essentially a spin on Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere" but instead of places, Marshall does a superbly entertaining job of listing every type of cocktail or alcoholic drink in existence.

"Work It Out" is one of the more soulful tracks on the album channeling some of my favorite artists like Otis Redding or Al Green. Clearly, the sound is much more of the country influence than either of those artists, but the lyrics, the instrumentation, and Marshall's subtle crooning on this song set it apart from much of the dominant sound (country and rock) on this album.

Overall, this album still has a bit too much material on the sentimental side to stay in rotation in its entirety for me. But there are a few stand out songs like "Take You Home to Mama," "Alcohol Abuse" and "Work It Out" that I would revisit again and again. Marshall brings soul to his particular brand of country and it really makes this release stand out in the saturated market of modern/pop country coming out these days. I love that Marshall doesn't need to lean on twang to do country his way.

Marshall Dane's One Of These Days is available on iTunes and all other digital music retailers.


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