by Clifton Sanders, Ph.D.
This is an 'insider' review; not liner notes written by a professional or wannabe music critic. This review comes from, of all people, the sax/flute player on the Dave Hahn CD. Naturally (and without apology), this is biased and could serve as a desperately shameless sales pitch.
So why read any more? After all, I'm just a middle-aged college chemistry professor (yes, complete with the Ph.D. and other assorted collegiate trimmings) who yearns to live the music album fantasy. What do I know about making good music?
I know Dave Hahn.
Dave and I have been friends for almost fifteen years. When I first heard Dave play and sing, I was immediately impressed with his attention to artistic detail and his production values: good playing, meaningful arrangements, compelling lyrics. These all have gotten better after years of playing outdoor festivals, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping malls, private parties...you name it. The Dave Hahn CD is the very satisfying culmination of the dues he's paid to date. To me, all of Dave's songs are really conversations, not preachy monologues, self-indulgent soliloquies, or pretentious sonnets. His songs beckon you to listen to them, to relate to them, and ultimately, to respond to the deep stirrings of your own heart.
Dave has developed a unique, syncopated singing style that has a wide range of influences, from jazz and R&B stylings to down-home serenades of country and folk. On this CD, delivery of the song is as important as the lyrics.
Except for the catchy 'Pub & grill jingle,' Dave's songs are by no means 'quick' fixes. Sure, it's easy to get the misty-eyed, sentimental rush from 'Angel Eyes' and 'As the Sunset Fades Away.' But these songs are deeper than mere sentiment, because real relationships are deeply satisfying, deeply painful, and deeply mystifying. 'Angeline,' 'Be Here Now,' and 'If I Get Weak' express the helplessness, anguish, and anger from shattered hopes and seductive delusions. 'Connections' is existential angst wearing a bluegrass suit. 'Falling for You' is a song for the life of your love (by the way, check out the shameless-but-soulful sax on this one).
The instrumentation on this project serves as context for meaningful communication. The one thing that all of the musicians on this project have in common is a long-term empathy with Dave's vision. I am grateful I wasn't given a horn part to play; instead, I was allowed to dialogue with the music. The instrumentation, rather than being true pre-set arrangements, is a personal commentary by each musician respectively; patiently coaxed by Dave and tastefully mixed and mastered by co-producer Ken Kruckenberg.
So, sit back, let the CD entertain you. Then let the songs move you. Then buy a few more for those who you just couldn't figure out how to buy for before. Take in a view from the 'inside.'
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Other Dave Hahns . . . . . . . . . .