LONESOME HIGHWAY | Album Review
Dave Goddess Group Back In Business Self Release
New York based Dave Goddess makes his music for one of the most valid reasons of all, which is to satisfy his desire to make honest truthful music for himself. He fills his songs with aspects of rebirth, religion, time, freedom, and gratitude but also allows for a little fun to be part of the mix. It is solid roots-rock that has the influence of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, to name but three, in its DNA. For this album Goddess was deep in pandemic times, so was largely working from his imagination and experience. That inward look produced eleven songs, all of which are delivered with heart despite have been recorded under Covid conditions. His long term rhythm section of bassist Mark Buschi and Chris Cummings on drums provided the base to build the songs on. Goddess add vocals and guitars while the additional instruments including steel guitars, keyboards and violin were overdubbed under the watchful eye of Goddess and co-producer/engineer Konrad Carelli. A half-dozen singers added background vocals to complete the business of making this new album.
Much of the material has a strong sense of structure and melody that rewards the listener. While the template used here has been around for some time now, these players bring a good sense of commitment that gives the whole album its sense of life and love of life, something that exists in spite of the many vicissitudes being faced in recent times, though the overall feel is largely positive and potent. Perhaps best summed up in the lyrics of Better Days - “forgive yourself, go on forgive the world / unshoulder that burden, seize the day.”
Standout tracks include Back In Business, Blessing In Disguise,You Can’t Get There From Here, I’d Do It Again, One-Way Ticket. These songs often highlight the skills of each of the musicians with keyboards, accordion, pedal steel and guitar riffs making their presence felt throughout. The vocals are also crucial to the process with Goddess’ lead leading the way, and the background vocals also being used effectively. There is light and shade and everything is not taken at the same tempo, which gives it a stronger listening experience.
The truth is, as Goddess has outlined, he makes this music for himself and his team essentially and indeed they should be satisfied. There is nothing stopping it reaching a wider audience other than the fact that it is so hard for an independent act to make itself heard amid the many distractions, and the many levels of media that clutter the consciousness. The Dave Goddess Group are not the new Tom Petty Band, but they are what they are and that puts them back in business to build on what they have already achieved previously, with this solid, satisfying album.
Review by Stephen Rapid