DownRiver Dan – Here to This
CD: 10 Songs, 43 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
The cover art of Here to This, the sophomore offering from Detroit’s DownRiver Dan, is perfectly descriptive of its music: bright, colorful, and clear. Some may call the blues down-and-dirty or downright mean, but Daniel Kalicki aims to bring the springtime sun back to the blues sky. He’s a rockin’ Millennial with gregarious guitar, vibrant vocals, and an air of joviality, even while playing contemplative songs such as the title track, “Dreamer,” and “Lonely Road.” All of the selections here are strong blues-based originals that will appeal to younger fans (even those who have reached the big 4-0). Boomers might miss the growl and grit they’re used to, but once they note Dan’s fluid style, they’ll kick back, relax, and enjoy their favorite adult beverages. Reminiscent of John Fogerty on vocals, he pours out his heart without pouring on the volume.
On his website, Dan reveals the reason he first started playing guitar: “My answer is – I had to. It all started in 2004. My life and many others’ were changed forever [by] the loss of my best friend and source of inspiration, my mother. Heartbroken and lost, I found shelter in music. [It] eventually led me to writing songs. Always having an ear for the rock and blues records in my Dad’s collection, it was a natural direction for me to go. I’ve been performing several nights each week to audiences everywhere…At age 21, I released my debut original album, Without You. It has received widespread acclaim from fans and radio hosts across North America.”
Performing alongside Mr. Kalicki on guitars and vocals are Billy Reyna on drums and harmony vocals; Bill Salisbury on bass guitar; Evan Mercer on organ, and Josh Ford on the guitar outro for the first track, “For a Fool.”
Speaking of which, it’s a jumpin’ jive that will get people of all ages out on the dance floor. “Honey, I won’t lie. It’s the end of the line. Don’t you play me for a fool, for a fool.” Such simple, succinct lyrics suit the clean-cut ‘50s-style vibe. Dig that solo in the middle and Evan Mercer’s snazzy organ backing. “Here to This” comes next, blues rock bordering on soft rock and calling Poco’s “Call It Love” to mind. Dan’s guitar is especially melodic, the perfect complement to some of his best vocals. “Get Me Gone,” a grungy stomp, is loud, proud, and in-your-face. “Used to Know” is a loping, strolling song for a trek around the neighborhood, and the harmonies aren’t bad, either. On the tail end of this album is “Misery & Me,” with an intro that hooks you and a haunting aura that spooks you. This is the kind of song a recovering junkie might sing, someone lost and alone, the city streets stretching endlessly before him.
DownRiver Dan has a future so bright, he’s gotta wear shades!