“Out of the Blue” is a stunning single from guitarist Drew Davidsen’s first studio release A Good Life and certain to garner him considerable attention. He draws on a variety of sources for his unique approach to forms like blues and jazz guitar and it comes through with a remarkable amount of personality. Too often people dismiss the form as inherently limited without realizing the ultimate transformative force, particularly in blues music, is how an individual player can manifest their emotions and experiences through the instrument of their own choosing. “Out of the Blue” has many recognizable musical turns, but each one is informed by an idiosyncratic approach to the playing and arrangement that affords Davidsen genuine moments to shine. It never runs on too long, either, and shows the kind of focus and clarity of intent so often distinguishing the best efforts in this vein.
You’ll go into this expecting to hear a top notch instrumentalist and you do. What you may not expect, however, is that Davidsen’s voice is every bit as appealing as his guitar chops and he wins over listeners every bit as much with the former as he does the latter. Experienced listeners will hear an experienced singer, but the wonderful thing about Davidsen’s voice is it never makes its finesse too obvious. Instead, he tackles the lyrics with great naturalness and a sense like he is born to sing this track and no one else. The lyrics are high quality and possess a distinctly conversational slant while still coming off as quite intelligent. He never overplays them. Instead, he sings with the true spirit of a man joyful in love’s first throes and it comes across as utterly sincere.
The musical backing is equally good. Davidsen’s guitar makes its presence felt at certain points in the song, but this is a complete musical composition and not merely an excuse for Davidsen to give his guitar a workout. There are a number of elements that go into making this a dynamite musical number, but chief among them is the way Davidsen and his collaborators bring its various sounds together into a coherent whole. The drumming, in particular, takes an authoritative tack in pushing the song along and the sheen surrounding the tune gives it a thoroughly modern lift. There’s certainly a tradition Davidsen is working within on this performance, but he makes it his own by pouring old wine into new bottles and bringing a considerable part of himself to the proceedings. “Out of the Blue” has a quality of effortlessness that’s a hallmark of the best efforts within this genre. There’s also enough hints of his instrumental prowess and his long line of influences to make this enjoyable for both the casual fan and music devotee alike. It’s one of the year’s most effervescent singles.