In the spirit of full disclosure, Dan Drake is a good buddy of mine, and has been a long time. So the positive review that follows is completely bias because I know Dan pretty well and have for a long time. He’s a good dude and, like this album, is hard not to like.
So as you read, understand that I’m grading on a curve of affection and admiration.
Dan just released his first album. If that short sentence were the end of the review, it would be a feat in and of itself. Any artistic endeavor takes quite a bit of talent just to complete, so that the thing is as good as it is just icing on an already delicious cake.
I sat down and gave it a listen, and while I won’t give you a song-by-song analysis (and I’ve only given it one listen so far, so deep analysis should be reserved for another time), I will tell you that whether you know Dan or not, this album is worth $9.99 for sure (and is also on iTunes & Spotify streaming services if you are a subscriber).
You can hear some of Dan’s biggest influencers in his songs. There are echoes of the blues/pop version of John Mayer and even some Pearl Jam-like progressions and themes. But he’s his own artist with his own story to tell. From the light, airy sound of You’re With Me to the ominously personal My Own Disease, you get lyrical authenticity and capable, creative musicianship from Drake. Don’t skip the bonus tracks (I actually prefer this version of It Ain’t Home Here and enjoy the bonus mix of Crazy just as much).
The two instrumental tracks aren’t inconsequential, either. Dan obviously doesn’t phone these in. They are melodic and don’t require the benefit of lyrics to enjoy.
The album has the same effect that Dan has when he’s playing in a coffee shop. His music is easy-going enough to be the perfect background companion to a good conversation with friends, but of a quality that will make you stop talking, scoot forward in your chair, and be content to just listen from time to time.
He’s surprising in that way. If you know Dan, you know he’s got it in him. But it’s so great to finally hear that he got it out of him. We’re all better for it. Home is a really good album, good enough to absorb my bias and still stand on it’s own merit.
Here’s hoping Dan’s first album won’t be his last.