Dan Auerbach - Waiting On A Song

by James Gerard Rating:7 Release Date:2017-06-02

Dan Auerbach has been quietly building an impeccable resume over the past decade or so, releasing one successful album after another with his garage-rock duo The Black Keys as well as moonlighting as one of music’s most sought-after producers.  So, after lending his production talents to the likes of Ray LaMontagne and most recently The Pretenders, Auerbach has finally decided to get back to his own music and is set to release Waiting On A Song, the follow-up to his 2009 debut Keep It Hid.  

Recorded in late 2016 after years of non-stop touring with The Black Keys, Auerbach decided it was time to reflect on the events that have transpired since his moving to Nashville seven years ago.  Born from seven-day-a-week writing sessions and boasting an impressive line-up of co-stars and guest musicians, Waiting On A Song is in every way a throwback to the Nashville music scene that it is said to have been inspired by.

Auerbach masterfully evokes shades of yesterday on Waiting On A Song, so much so that many of these songs have an almost eerily “I swear I’ve heard that before” quality to them, with choruses that draw heavily upon that classic-FM-radio familiarity.  While everything from the fonts and layout of the album-cover artwork to the heavy use of analog gear may blur the line between reverence and derivation, for the most part here, it works. 

The title track that kicks off the album places Auerbach’s penchant for throwback sounds and nostalgia-laced lyrics on full display.  Songs like the up-tempo “Shine On Me” and the plodding “King of a One Horse Town” provide some momentum to what is an otherwise laid-back collection while the album’s second half appropriately features some deeper cuts with songs like “Never In My Wildest Dreams” and the horn-section-embellished “Undertow” serving as some of Waiting On A Song's strongest tracks. 

While Waiting On A Song may not even come close to reinventing any sort of wheel, it is a welcome reminder of the power of a well-written song paired with the capable hands of an inspired producer.  For fans of any of Auerbach’s day job-projects, this record is highly recommended; a solid slice of sonic sunshine that's just in time for Summer.

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