Dan Walker

The laugh that starts Dan Walker's latest CD, Airplane, is evocative of the homespun spirit found throughout the album. The sound is as natural and scenic as the pure Montana surroundings in which he recorded it. Airplane sets a mood of crisp country living, loving, and traveling. Musically conjured images will be of sunny skies, clear streams, and mountain air, but Walker's lyricism graciously extends well past these vistas. Songs like "So Blue" and "Stumble and Fall" most glaringly reveal Walker as a gifted crafter of catchy tunes.
Working a country-tinged combination of roots, folk, and blues, Dan and the band center their songs around his road-worthy lyrics, placing his classic voice among soulfully written, upbeat music. The arrangements are informed by everything from tried-and-true American pop, such as the Motown influence on the rollicking "Get Me Out Of This," to more diverse structures like the gliding soul-rock of "Blues By Midnight" and the Latin tilt of "Gonna Shine." No one instrument dominates, and the production is careful to blend bass, drums, guitar, and keys equally, creating a full, rich bedrock for Walker's memorable musings. The title track benefits the most from the musicians' collective efforts, as they create a haunting, dramatic closer that is like no other track on the album.

Airplane moves Dan Walker into a whole new phase, and finds him shifting from the stripped-down sound of his first album to a full-band emphasis. The tasteful nature of the recording along with Walker's obvious talent should make plenty of people get on board with this album!

--Bryan Rodgers