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Sweet Tea Recordings
orget all about that title, because a debut CD this good does not come along often at all.
-Nashville Rage’s Jeff Havens
I laughed out loud when I read this.
Oh, Elliot Smith. We need you now more than ever. Ever since Dave Matthews came along and inspired every college kid in the world to pick up an acoustic guitar and pluck out a sweet jammin’ song to impress the ladies, the music industry has been filled with young white boys crooning out introspective lyrics while remembering to have a little fun. Record companies are cashing in on somewhat talented, kind of interesting and not-all-that-bad average guys to provide us with not-that-special, forgettable but catchy, safe tunes.
Not that all these guy sound like Dave Matthews, but I’m sure most are fans. John Mayer seems to be sticking around, while Jason Mraz may have to tighten the budget and restrain himself from buying those cute, puffy trucker hats for the time being. Pete Yorn looks like he may have a bright future, while Josh Kelley may have to come to terms with the fact that no one reading this review will know who I’m talking about.
Howie Day, Damien Rice, Jack Johnson…
The list goes on.
Some good. One or two genius. Most just alright. These guys worship Jeff Buckley, namedrop Nick Drake, and pretend not to like the Counting Crows.
The point is we have enough of these guys. There is some genuine talent out there, but there is far more mediocrity in the mix. There can be only so many average singer-songwriters, before it just gets bad. Trent Dabbs needs to give us something we haven’t heard countless times before if he wants his career to go any further. This genre isn’t a trend. It’s been around for decades. But, it has evolved. Trent Dabbs is still at the ape stage and, if he isn’t careful, is going to be wiped out by natural selection. If the debut album is unexciting, the sophomore slump could bury you. Even if fame is unimportant to him (which I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t) and his music is just catharsis for him, an underground artist needs to have that special something or he might as well just sit in a locked room to play his therapeutic lullabies.
I almost fear Trent Dabbs hitting the big time. Trent’s ready-for-radioland song, “It’s Not Like That,” is such an obvious attempt at a sing-along anthem that it just gets irritating. “On Heavy” could be that one song everyone downloads after hearing that first hit radio single, one-upping their friend. (“Yeah, that song on the radio is okay, but have you heard this one…?”) After all this, “Abigail” would end up as the song played during the opening credits of a Jude Law romantic-comedy, while “Diamonds Don’t Shine” would end up somewhere on the next Zach Braff project soundtrack. There’s too much tolerance for singer-songwriters. They need to decide if they want to write number one radio singles or withdrawn, personal melodies. Well?
Reviewed by: Nick Mims
Reviewed on: 2005-01-12
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