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