Dan Miraldi. The Freewheelin’ Dan Miraldi.
DM Experience This Music LLC, 2013. Dan Miraldi: http://www.danmiraldi.com/fr_home.cfm
You might have guessed from the title of Miraldi’s new EP that the cover would be a take on Bob Dylan’s album. He certainly includes Dylan as one of his major influences, but on first listen, it seems that, aside from the acoustic turn this time around, his sound lies elsewhere, but not far away. Thematically, he does indeed resemble Dylan, often singing small vignettes that suggest larger themes related to love, tragedy, and justice. It works well for him. This six-song release includes three new songs and three alternate takes from previous albums. I reviewed his last album, Sugar & Adrenaline, a rocker that I liked a lot. This one slows the pace with an acoustic approach that gives us a different picture of the artist.
The opener, “Out of Eden,” begins to mind not so much Bob Dylan as Buddy Holly, or possibly Jonathan Richman doing Buddy Holly. Rockabilly with punk sensibilities. Miraldi has this youthful, innocent voice that rings clear as a bell, rather than the mumbling world-weary hipster approach of the early Dylan. “The Folk Singer is Dead” is closer to Dylan in content, but more Byrds-like in delivery, especially since he relies on vocal harmonies with his band mates (no jangly guitar though). The song is sad, but with elements of dark humor that dovetail nicely. “Ex-Girlfriend” sounds even more like the Byrds doing Dylan, another song combining love, sadness, humor, and irony.
When Miraldi sings “I’ve seen it all” in “The Holy Roller Stone Revival” the sentiment tends to get cancelled out by his voice. He needs to try the song again in ten years. The last two tunes appeared on previous albums and they still sound great here. “Thirsty” is a fine love song, and “More & More” gets us back into Americana/rockabilly territory, which seems to be his comfort zone.
The songs are great, the singer is great. I haven’t mentioned the band, but they’re great too, a very tight unit that backs Miraldi beautifully. I’m very impressed with Miraldi’s work. He is maturing as an artist and has a fresh, clean sound that ought to take him to national prominence. Listen to this guy. If the larger market can glance away from hip hop/dance pop, he might just be the next big thing.
Personnel: Dan Miraldi (vocals, guitar, bass, keys, percussion), Alex Bowers, guitar, bass, keys, vocals), Joe LaGuardia (bass), Sarah Luffred (drums, percussion, vocals).
Tracks: Out of Eden, The Folk Singer is Dead, Ex-Girlfriend, The Holy Roller Stone Revival, Thirsty, More & More.