by Robert Dean
If you’re looking to fill that emotionally charged void left by waiting for new stuff by Tyler Childers, Chelsea Nolan’s debut e.p. Chelsea is an excellent place to start. On Chelsea, Nolan taps into a slow and steady dive bar tempo that’s the soundtrack down here in my fair city of Austin, Texas. The tunes are in the same vein of Childer’s Purgatory, and I’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t appreciate how Nolan channels an electric mix of Lucinda Williams’ growl, but also some Janis Joplin heartache and howls, too.
“Rock Bottom” doesn’t feel trite, or without its moments of chaos, instead, it’s raw and powerful. The song is country, but it’s got a rock and roll heart. There’s something about eastern Kentucky, these folks have a sense of rhythm that’s different than the rest of the country, the sound is becoming instantly recognizable, and on tracks like “Green Bridges” and “Sugar Holler”, Nolan is almost textbook in how to do the sound correctly.
Dan Conn is another Kentuckian, but unlike Chelsea Nolan, Conn’s sound is a little more subdued, less “Kentucky.” The vibe on his new record, Shine On, Conn’s approach is decidedly less honky-tonk and more bar room bummer.
If you’re looking for a driving record or something to throw on while you throw a few back, Shine On hits the mark. The standout tracks on the album are “The Pistol”, “Southern Accent”, and “Green Eyed Gal”, all which are 100% pure no bullshit country music, the exact stuff you shove in someone’s face when they ask you about pop country vs. the good stuff; that’s what Dan Conn is for. Give em’ Shine On to suck on.
There are a few clear indicators of artists like Wilco, The Jayhawks, and Tom Petty threaded throughout Shine On, and the more spins I give it, the more it proves to be something that could find its way into your favorite dive bar jukebox.
I dunno about you, but dive bar jukeboxes are the holy grail of cool, so that’s some pretty good damn company. Dan Conn can write a sad bastard song for the ages.
You can pre-order Shine On (due Nov. 30) here: https://www.danconnmusic.com/store