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CD REVIEW: Vision by Nick Dakota

Handsome, charismatic, and talented; Nick Dakota is not your average guitar player who can sing. Playing in bands since he was 16, Nick Dakota was born to do just this. Discovered by the famous producer, Robyn Robins (of Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band) Robins believes highly in the talents of Nick and the future of his music career. So much so that he has produced this debut album with top notch heavy hitters out of Nashville. “We feel Nick has great potential. The songs, vocal delivery, and overall production are great,” quotes Robins. “Vision” embodies the best of Country music and top quality production. Each track flows into the next creating a mood and experience honoring its title. Lee Hendricks (Eric Church’s bass player), Steve Hinson (steel guitar for Randy Travis) and Troy Lancaster (Tim McGraw’s guitar player) are just a few of the talent tsunami that bring “Vision” to life.

Working with great players can be one thing, but coming out just as great on the other end is everything. And Nick Dakota manages that and more on this album. This is where country and rock come together with less of that obviousness in which most of it does.There is a lighthearted, almost easy listening quality behind it all in the process, as well as the aforementioned combo of pros that keep the quality up.But what shines through the most is the honest sound that provides a good feeling about Nick Dakota. There is also a heavier rock essence laced throughout some of these songs that show a harder side to his rock style, without rendering it more of a metal vibe. It has just the right bite that way with some tasty guitar solos and an overall sense of feelgood humor.

The CD kicks off with “Fall All Over Again,” and doesn’t tell a lot of what’s really going throughout the disc, but it’s a solid opener. This follows up with “Heart On Fire,” which displays about the same energy but then it makes way for a more interesting and accessible track. “How Cool Is That,” is one of two great cuts where every featured player can do no wrong. It begins with some strumming and instantly gets taken over with some power chords and a great narrative vocal that is thickened up with some back-up singing on the chorus. This is a heartfelt track about being cool and not even knowing it. Having everything it takes to win over modern country fans is the first thing I noticed about it, but by then end of it you still get an almost pop-rock vibe that brings it fully around. And this, being a stand-out track, proves it.

“How Much I Love You” runs a lot deeper and you are in for another excellent track. But it makes way for an even better power-ballad in the likes of “One Last Request.” This is a track where his vocals get a chance to really say something different by asking instead of telling. And with “Rain Down Sunshine” bring more energy back to the picture and somehow reminds of a familiar Jackson Five chorus. This just goes to show how varied Nick Dakota really is, and why I can relate so well to how he combines styles without losing the country dominance. Then again it slows back down and gets very mainstream on “Past You and Me.” This stays the course but picks up very powerfully on another stand out track with “Sledgehammer,” and it’s probably the best number, if not close to it. They’re all consistent but this one displays the most accessibility and overall carries the most punch.

You can slice this anyhow you want, but I would consider the latter to be the lead single with the most going for it, to recognize everything else on offer which comes out as a great collection of tunes. This is followed by the much more countrified “The Deep End,” which carries some sublime guitar lines to keep it interesting. And not to rain on the parade but the one thing I would like to hear more of is the occasional bursts of energy in some of the songs that really show a rougher side to Nick Dakota. It shows up on the next track though, “Too,” before the final number, “Used” brings it back to the more mainstream side of the disc, actually leaving on a positive note either way.

In closing, this is a fine release by an artist with just as much rock in him as country, who manages to blend them better than most in a world where modern country seems to be taking more and more pages from classics than contemporaries, and shows them that roots are not to be dismissed.

I-TUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/vision/id1093348040

by Larry Toering

In Short Words

Criteria - 90%

90%

Rating

In closing, this is a fine release by an artist with just as much rock in him as country, who manages to blend them better than most in a world where modern country seems to be taking more and more pages from classics than contemporaries, and shows them that roots are not to be dismissed.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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