Watching a recorded Arena documentary on Chrissie Hynde, I was reminded that Dan Auerbach was alive and kicking. He enthused in a brief segment with Hynde over the ‘popular’ blues; those songs which featured a hook that sent them into the popular consciousness rather than those beloved of the genre.
It’s been three years since the Black Keys released an lp. In the meantime, Auerbach has worked on solo material and a side project, The Arcs. Among his production credits is The Pretenders Alone which cleared up why he featured in the BBC2 documentary.
Coincidentally, his new solo release Waiting On A Song, dropped onto the shelves last week and it didn’t disappoint. The question you have to answer at the end of it is whether you like your Americana with the Philly Sound or your Philly Sound with a hint of Americana?
In common with others, it’s very much Dan and mates. John Prine, Mark Knopfler and Duane Eddy feature; whatever you’re thoughts on their individual music career, it’s a fairly stellar cast, while remaining resolutely Auerbach’s own work. On the back cover, there’s a group photo so you can play a game of musical “Got, not got”.
The shimmering soul of the 70s underpins the Nashville influence on the exceptional King Of A One Horse Town, hinting at psychedelia with mellifluous keyboards in the background.
While each track finds its’ own identity, there’s a mood swing which carries the album. The title track sets the tone, an uplifting beginning through to the final track, Show Me, 30 minutes later. The entire album is around 33 minutes long, never outstaying its welcome but leaving you wishing for more.
Cherrybomb is perhaps the most poptastic of an album which wouldn’t be out of place in the mid-70s catalogue of any Nashville artist. A funky guitar accompanied by the Acme Thunderer whistles familiar to millions. I don’t know if it is the whistle used but I’m not that ‘up’ on them to know. Or care.
It’s an album to feel at home with and one I’d heartily recommend; 4/5. You can buy Waiting On A Song here.