Produced by: D.W. Dasher (Hike The Stone Music, Nashville, TN) Mastered by: Randy Kling (Diskmastering, Gallatin, TN) Musicians: Daryl Dasher: vocals, guitars (acoustic, electric, 12-string), bass guitar, harmonica, mandolin, percussion, drums Rodney Russell: drums, percussion (cajón, Udu, Djembe, Kokiriko, Bongos, shakers, tambourine, and more!) Karri Lee: fiddle REVIEWS: URBAN COUNTRY NEWS Deb Vilas April 23, 2013 Album Review: great big sky - Daryl Wayne Dasher great big sky - Daryl Wayne Dasher (April 23, 2013 - Hike the Stone Music) (by UCN contributor Deb Bose) These days, pop culture references to "Country & Western" evoke a quaint and bygone era in which songs about the cowboy's life out in the open range were a defining part of the country music genre. Marketing tropes and the urbanization of country's fanbase have given way to an increasingly cartoonish truck-and-beer-centric treatment of rural life by mainstream country songs, and today's dominant country archetype is a backwards baseball cap-wearing frat boy as opposed to a world-weary ranger who bears the responsibility of land and family. Those who find the latter more interesting than the former can still turn to the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Riders In The Sky, and Corb Lund, and with the release of his excellent new album great big sky, they can and should also turn to Daryl Wayne Dasher. Great big sky opens, appropriately enough, with 'Hello Sky,' a pensive midtempo song in which Dasher muses about his character failings and plans to ride away from the people he cares about until he can learn to treat them properly. That sets the tone for the rest of the album, much of which addresses the mindset of a man with a lot of life under his belt facing his limitations and flaws, all of it delivered in Dasher's emotive and appealing baritone. Although Great Big Sky is steeped in the minimalistic mix of traditional country and folk that makes for the Western sound, it's stories and point of view feel contemporary and relevant. Only 'Mountains of Montana' covers the traditional "Western" ground by depicting a character who longs for his home after having traveled all around, and it does so with a peppy melody and a vocal delivery that draws inspiration in equal parts from Dwight Yoakam and Roy Orbison. 'Again' movingly depicts a female singer/mother/wife whose musical expressions of her lack of fulfillment fall on deaf ears (particularly, those of her husband). If not for the lack of references to "booze and pills," the characters here would bear striking similarity to the ones Kacey Musgraves sings about in her deservedly-acclaimed hit 'Merry Go Round': married young, parents while still young, but growing up to become bored and discontent. Dasher sings with sympathy and understanding where Musgraves with detachment, so we feel the wistfulness and longing of his character. Similarly mature and world-weary is album highlight 'Soldier,' the incredibly touching contemplation of a man who has served his country on multiple tours of duty that have taken him away from the family and land that he cherishes. He is haunted by the prospect of being called away again (or as Dasher puts it, he is "tied to his bed by a net of black ink/one string for each thought [he]'d rather not think"), and later haunted by the prospect of never seeing his family again. Whether at home or in the trenches, our soldier cannot escape the weight of uncertainty, and it's a weight that you can feel in Dasher's delivery. The ache he feels in his soul leads to an honest, heart-rending admission, "I know it's not something a soldier's supposed to say. But I'm tired and I've had enough war." It's a sentiment that feels as fitting today as it may have 50 and 100 years ago. The timeliness of great big sky is especially striking on it's closing track, 'Leave the Rest Alone.' The song takes on the polarization and uncertainties of our times, providing reassurance that through love and unity, we will be able to maintain a handle on it all. As trite as that may sound, the sad reality is that tragedy and unc
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