Saturday, June 28, 2014
Justin Dzuban - Shakedown
What do you get when you cross Johnny Cash with Mark Knopfler?
Dzuban is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who hails from the American Heartland - Delaware, Ohio, just 20 miles north of Columbus. His full length album, Shakedown, is scheduled for release on June 17, 2014. Two words - get it.
I was fortunate enough to have received an advance copy of the album. Even before the album's official release the tracks "Trouble" and "Shakedown" are offered as free downloads (in .wav file form) on Dzuban's website www.justindzuban.com. Download them. The release is a breath of fresh air, brushed with a hint of nostalgia and awash with great songwriting and musicianship. It is self-produced and self-mixed, and is Dzuban's second studio album.
The arrangements are simple, the sound is multi-layered, driven by an organic, soulful passion where the spaces between the notes have as much meaning as the notes themselves. Justin used old equipment and techniques to keep it simple and true. He called upon close friends to perform arrangements and contribute to selected tracks. There is twang and a tinge of country. It is rock 'n roll. It is Americana. It feels like home.
Shakedown consists of ten tracks. Here is what you can expect from the two that are free to download. In my humble opinion they are not even the best cuts on this upcoming release. However, they are incredible in their own right. I have simply listed the remainder of the tracks.
1. Trouble: Johnny Cash's ghost haunts this song. Dzuban's promotional material says it:
". . . is dosed in thick Nashville syrup, reflecting on the days of Outlaw country when Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings were dominating the scene. It showcases Justin’s baritone voice revealing his deeper range, driven by a shuffle beat, echoed by haunting yet beautiful female back up vocals, a wurlitzer electric piano arranged across a smooth but moderately driven Gretsch Hollow body electric guitar (used throughout the record) contributing to the subtle 60’s and 70’s classic rock style. "
I could not have said it any better.
2. Shakedown: This is a country gospel rocker that evokes Dire Straits. Dzuban explains it:
". . . utilizes the Wurlitzer electric piano and a hammond organ setting the stage for a rocking Americana track that grooves through the chorus with soulful female back up vocals and a foot tapping melody. Within the song there is a sensibility that finds the track, like many throughout the album, consistently alive and astonishingly modern. The chorus bounces with the beat, layers of country-gospel vocals rise up and fill in the space where Justin’s deep warmth fades into silence. The restorative power that Justin draws from traditional sources is most apparent throughout the slow groove of this reflective single.
What he said.
3. Lies And Prostitution
4. Where Are We Going
5. Into The Night
6. Windy Beach City
7. Have I Ever Told You
8. In The Streets
9. The Last Goodbye
10. Find Yourself Again
This is a throwback album. It would feel right at home in the mid-1970's. Then, again, so would I.
- Old School