CD REVIEW: 25 Years by Dan Rodriguez
Pic by Lucas Botz Photography
The fifth studio release from Minnesota based Dan Rodriguez, a John Fields produced EP titled 25 Years, is a six song collection underscoring Rodriguez’s songwriting and performing strengths while likewise illustrating his continuing exponential growth. Rodriguez’s earlier efforts earned him a meaningful measure of commercial notice, namely placing songs for ads during high profile events like the Super Bowl and the World Series, but this is an artist whose appeal extends far beyond hawking beer to thirsty sports fans. The Detroit native mixes a bluesy roots rock aesthetic with sharp singer/songwriter chops and a folkie side unafraid to express himself with nothing more than an acoustic guitar in tow. There’s been a steady rise in his artistic profile over the course of his previous four releases and this release will undoubtedly expose his talents to an even broader listening base than ever before. Anyone who loves unvarnished music, un-gimmicked and focused on communicating with listeners, will flock to Dan Rodriguez’s work.
The first quarter of the title song and opening track “25 Years” is carried by some tasteful drumming, minimalist minded acoustic guitar, and Rodriguez’s vocals. He’s an immensely soulful singer who never has to force the issue and has a warm, lustrous voice with a talent for smoothly turning phrases. The tune opens up considerably as it progresses and the strong drumming sets an undeniable tone for the piece. He’s written a very solid love song that seems familiar yet is far more forward thinking than typical examples of the style. “You Feel Like Home” takes on a similar template as it begins with some fluent acoustic work that transforms into a hard-charging roots rocker for the track’s second half. The songwriting touches on a theme similar to the first song, but it comes off fresh nonetheless. “Fire” is burning with confident rock swagger from the first and Rodriguez hooks into a mid-tempo stride that’s colored with some artful and discreet keyboard touches.
“You’re Not Anybody” has one of the EP’s more memorable grooves and the sultry tone it takes on will win many listeners straight out of the chute. It’s a different lyrical turn from the EP’s first three tracks, but the abiding stylishness of the material is present here as elsewhere. The confidence he brings to bear throughout the six songs on 25 years makes even the second tier songs on the release sound like complete listening experiences. The muscular anthemic qualities of “Hero” only become truly apparent at about the song’s halfway mark – the first part of the song has the same acoustic slant dominating many of the EP’s tracks but dials up the intensity dramatically from the song’s midway point onward. He closes 25 Years with “Until the End”, a solo acoustic performance that, in essence, underscores how his talents carry the day here despite the first class accompaniment joining him on each song. 25 Years is a meaningful musical jaunt with the capacity to entertain listeners that stands as Dan Rodriguez’s best recording yet.
Dan Rodriguez Album “25 years” is releasing on Feb 9, 2018
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