There are many songwriters that have come down through the decades. Some have style, creativeness, many do indeed have good voices though that isn’t always a requirement. Some artists are fairly plain, have no clue about being an original.
Texas-based Dan Weber is an average singer with a pleasant voice (really good on “Call It a Night” – almost like Marc Cohn). He doesn’t yet have a distinctive voice like John Prine, James Taylor, or Fred Neil. But it’s his compositions that are winning & give him convincing value. He’s an original. Weber tries to be different; sounds wonderfully sincere; his words are well-chosen & not weighed down always by cliches.
Surprisingly, this “average Joe” has some gold in his pocket musically. He’s a pebble in the rock garden of Gordon Lightfoot, Townes van Zandt, Harry Chapin & Eric Andersen. But it’s his writing, how he applies words to melodies that are faithful, genuine.
“While You Were Sleeping,” is delicate, pure & the way Weber showcases it is impressive. It’s a dazzling beautiful ballad. Lovely stuff. I seldom hear material of this quality from independents. Even for a pro with a track record — Springsteen should write a ballad this good.
These 14 from Dan’s 3rd CD The Way The River Goes (Droops Jan 28–Highway 142 Music) are articulate & appealing. Legendary singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliott praised Dan’s work. What I like is that he also reminds me of a forgotten singer-songwriter the late David McWilliams. David recorded many LPs in England & is known for “The Days of Pearly Spencer.” David’s “Marlena,” “There’s No Lock Upon My Door,” “Can I Get There By Candlelight,” all well-written memorable tunes & with “Ghosts of Wichita,” Dan Weber follows in big footsteps.
“Goodbye New Orleans,” is melodically distinguished with a light accordion & snap of snare. This is excellence in songwriting. It has substance. Weber’s also not afraid to address a tragedy. “Ever Since Columbine,” is one of the few times I saw mention of this in a song. In the 60s it would’ve been out within a week of the event.
At times Dan grazes the style of the late David Blue, though Weber’s vocals are superior. “We all have our ghosts, but I don’t need mine anymore.” Good, cool lyric.
Produced by Rob Stroup (bass/drums/percussion/organ/electric guitar/vocals). The songs are performed by Dan (acoustic guitar), Michael Henchman (5-string electric bass), Paul Brainard (electric guitar/pedal steel), Kathryn Claire (fiddle), Jenny Conlee-Drizos (accordion), Tim Connell (mandolin), Tony Furtado (banjo/dojo), & David Lipkind (harmonica).