Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CMJ Review : Danny Ross - One Way

Nov 20, 2009
By Michael Tedder

In case the black-and-white album cover isn't enough of a clue, one listen to the immaculately arranged opener, "Sleepy Dream," makes it immediately clear that New York songwriter Danny Ross is a classicist to the core. But what makes his debut album One Way more than just retro pastiche is that he's several kinds of classicists at once. Sure, there's plenty of gorgeous, tears-in-your-martini-glass ballads (a touch too many, honestly), but Ross also throws in some early Randy Newman barroom stompers ("Forgive Me Love") and a Broadway-ready, army-of-horns dance number ("And The Trumpets Sing...") that can only accurately be described as snappy. I hope this album becomes a breakaway hit, because the home made YouTube dance videos for these songs have the potential to be amazing. In fact, if Ross ever gets tired of a life of constant touring and middling album sales, he'd probably kill on the Great White Way.

"Always On My Way," isn't just a lovely country-ballad, but it also feels like a Rosetta Stone that decodes the album's success. It feels like a tip of the hat to Ryan Adams, the great pop’s great classicist of our times—when he's bringing his A game, anyway. Like Adams, Ross realizes that there's no point in recreating the past note-for-note when it's more fun to smash pieces of the past together in a collage. This probably explains why so much of the album seems to have a Led Zeppelin/art-rock jones. It's there in the slow build of "Waiting On The Wheel," and the violin-soaked crescendos of "Go," and it explodes on the album's best song "This Ancient Bridge," which even has a name that sounds Zep-ish, not to mention an incendiary drum run, some Jeff Buckley-esque moans and enough guitar shredding to make you double-check that you're still listening to the same album. Luckily, even a dedicated student of music like Ross knows that fidelity to the past doesn't mean you can't have fun with your influences.

Track Listing For One Way:
01. Sleepy Dream
02. Country Wind
03. Oh, Christine
04. Forgive Me Love
05. Woman
06. Stay Here With Me
07. This Ancient Bridge
08. Always On My Way
09. And The Trumpets Sing...
10. This Is Just A Test
11. Waiting On The Wheel
12. Go
13. One Way

No comments: