The improvisational rock band from the Mississippi River Valley of Northwestern Illinois strikes jam band gold with their second release “At First Light” that once again features the talents of guitarist Sean Ryan, and keyboardist Jordan VanOpdorp. Latest band addition, bassist/backing vocalist Dan Olds (who replaces original member Garrin Jost) plays commendably throughout the 4 songs that equal nearly 40-minutes of music contained in this offering. Dan singing also contributes to the band’s signature calling card of “Allman Brothers meets The Grateful Dead” styled vocals! Dan handles his Fender Jazz Basses well, and leans toward deeper, supportive, “old school” tones that sit well in the steady, Midwestern studio mix. Dan’s rhythm teammate, Josh Womack, also gets kudos for his sense of interplay. Together, these two are a formidable groove section that shouldn’t be missed! My favorite moment is their playing throughout the CD closer, “Slow Motion”.
The music is, once again, quite well presented and the overall vibe is contented and exultant without being overly, or unnecessarily, chipper – which, adds to the band’s hopeful musical persona.
The opening of the disc’s second tune, Ticklelicious, is reminiscent of why this musical genre has become so popular in a world of strife, uncertainty, and social media over-saturation. The strong 70’s innervations is a gratefully received facet of The Dawn.
Since we’re on the subject of this band… Let’s discuss their 2014 release, “Waiting On The Storm” which contained a more upbeat, and “radio-ready” song set than their aforementioned second outing. That said, the consistency of the overall mix and the playing (and tonal choices) of Sean Ryan and Jordan VanOpdorp are both familiar and friendly enough to sustain the jam-band vibe. Garrin Jost’s playing is very, very good throughout the 6 tunes on the premier release. I like his treatment of “Phases” and the title track, “Waiting On The Storm” in particular. Nicely done!
As the recorded “arrival” of this band, each tune speaks incredibly well, and this CD is the foundation of every wonderful nuance and performance perk being offered-up by this band. Whether, or not, you dig this genre… There is something beautiful happening within the hairpin turns of The Dawn’s music! I only wish this outing was released on vinyl! The Dawn’s music needs that! Catch them at www.thedawnband.com
Must hear tunes Waiting On The Storm: Freezeframe, Bring It All Home, Phases, Waiting On The Storm
Must hear tunes At First Light: Tickleliscious, Slow Motion