This new album from Dan Whitley (yes, brother of the late, great Chris Whitley) is another exercise of finely-crafted, pure-American music – that wonderful mixture of country, folk, soul/groove and heart – mind and melody go hand in hand on this ten-track collection, Calling All Gods.

A fitting title, undoubtedly, as recurring themes of redemption (self and otherwise) seem to crop up in the lyrical content; certainly an album of songs incorporating loss, longing, want and introspection – deep, but never too precious, which is what gives it that extra meatiness.  In essence, an album of a life lived – and making it all the more poignant is that this is Dan’s first full length studio album.

Starting with the heavy, yet spacious “Take My Life”,  the sounds are a fine combination of chunky acoustic guitars, subtle keyboards, taut rhythm section and guitar blasts tempered by Mr. Whitley’s impassioned vocals – dark, yet airy and a great opening track.  “Shine” opens with a spine-tingling steel guitar intro and pours the chill in this direction until the band kicks in and boogies; “The Killing Floor” has a radio-friendly feel, with its keyboard-laced body and is a standout and “Genius Of  The Light” is a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to Mr. Whitley’s mother and brother – emotional yet uplifting.

The album’s title track, “Calling All Gods” is certainly the centerpiece:  a slow, bluesy/country-fied piece that just explodes into soulfulness and balls-out get-down; “I Believe In You” is a magnificent, dark ballad and “Devil On Your Trail” closes out this gathering with a resonator-driven foot-stomp at 100 m.p.h., which is more than satisfying.

With a stellar production by Malcolm Burn and dynamic performances, this album from Dan Whitley is becoming a fast favorite.  Look for it, listen to it and absorb it for the fine piece it is.


Calling All Gods is available now



About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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