Album - Blue Diamond Review/Sedona Records
Artist - Dan McGuinness
by: John Townsend
Visit John's website www.JohnTown.com
This being my first CD review for Bitchin' Entertainment, I want to say first that I've never liked reviewers. I always felt that if you're gonna put in your two cents worth, you should have been there and done that. Therefore, I don't approach music reviews with the same slaughterhouse techniques that most non-musician reviewers use. My reviews have a tendency to be more along the lines of critiques. I also find it difficult to do music reviews without drawing comparisons to other artists I've listened to through the years. So like it or not, you're gonna get those comparisons from me.
That having been said, the new Dan McGuinnes CD, Blue Diamond Review has elements of several artists. I've enjoyed going back to the 60's. Dan has put together an amalgam of Blues-Rock, Country-Rock and Rock-a-billy that shows artistic promise. The opening cut, Tim Ottiff's Blues Bar, along with Blue Diamond Revival, Fast Freight Train and Desert Dancer have elements that are reminiscent of early Credence Clearwater. Dan's voice and guitar styles are not unlike Fogerty's on several of these cuts. Dan's voice is at work in a little higher register than Fogerty but is nevertheless walking the same avenue as early Credence. At times, on ballads like Listen To The Night, Years Are Yesterdays, and Glendale Moon, his voice starts to take on more of a Jesse Colin Young and the Youngbloods persona. To my mind, these are both viable comparisons, and as far as I'm concerned, it's great to see and hear younger artists of today making inroads into musical areas that seem to have been forgotten by the glitz-pop and hip-hop generation. Dan's music is good time music and about time.
I've also made a few notes on the critical side. In a conversation I had once had with J.D. Souther regarding the great Eagles songs he'd been involved with, he commented: It was decided early on with the Eagles that if we wanted to make music that would be around for 20 years, we had to spend more time on the lyrics. As a songwriter, I think Dan could take J.D.s advice to heart and work at the craft of songwriting a bit more. A lot of good songs can be made into great songs with dedication and diligence. One example I can think of is Danıs song Glendale Moon. Having spent some time in Glendale, it just doesnıt conjure up any notions of romance worthy of song. Maybe he should have tried to go beyond the original idea of the song title to craft it into something more poetic. Maybe that's just me.
My other critical comment has to do with the overall musicianship and production on the CD. I know how difficult it is to put together a band with great musicians who are all thinking on the same page. Nevertheless, if your rhythm section is plagued with what I politely call a "random time concept", a great song and a great groove can fall flat on it's backside if the rhythm section can't carry it with conviction. I found that to be the case on several cuts where the "holes" in the groove were just a little distracting.
Aside from a few negatives, I think Dan McGuinness is on the right track for success. Will Rogers once said "Even if youıre on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there". Dan's music shows a great energy and if he keeps growing with a little more life experience and a boned up rhythm section, we'll be hearing a lot more from him in the years to come.