Review Walden Dahl

Walden Dahl
Walden Dahl
Tricopolis Records

Review by Art Menius for Bluegrass Unlimited April 1999

My Rose of Old Kentucky      City Lights    Colleen Malone    Shady Grove    My Heart Has Turned to Stone    Let It Be Me     Auctioneer    Big Spike Hammer    Devil Woman    Oh, Susanna    500 Miles    Back in the Saddle Again     Explanation of the Blues    Little Annie   Streets of Japan

 

Best known as composer of “So Wrong, So Long,” southern California’s Walden Dahl has performed for a quarter-century with such outfits as Lost Highway, the High Window Boys, Grey Eagle, and the Coyote Brothers. The most excellent “Walden Dahl” marks his solo recording debut.

 

Dahl’s songwriting impresses. “My Heart Has Turned to Stone” proves as good a new traditional bluegrass song as I’ve enjoyed in some time. The album features straightforward, laid back interpretations with relentlessly solid playing and arrangements. All are veterans, best known being long-time Good Ol’ Person Paul Shelasky on fiddle.

 

Dahl’s voice resembles Marty Robbins in both its range and delicacy. The latter prejudices him in favor of medium tempo bluegrass, which he handles most effectively. Yet it becomes essential to achieve variety through diverse selections such as Robbins’ “Devil Woman.”

 

“Walden Dahl” might contain a song or two too many, and the cover’s something less than Spartan. More significantly, the mix occasionally proves dreadful and always inconsistent. That’s a shame because this is a very good record with some terrific cuts. The Walden Dahl Band deserves national distribution and a good budget. To get that you have to tour nationally. To tour nationally you need a series of successful records well distributed. And so it goes.

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