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CD of The Week

Week of 6/05/17

    Dan Auerbach - Waiting on a Song (Easy Sound / Nonesuch)

    Back in 2009, when The Black Keys had just really broken through the mainstream, singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach briefly went solo with the album Keep It Hid. He and drummer Patrick Carney saw the Keys' star rise in the coming years but have been on a break since they finished touring 2014's Turn Blue. However, Auerbach is a bit of a workaholic (and sang about it on the single "Outta My Mind" from his recent side project The Arcs) so he's at it again with his second official solo record, Waiting on a Song.

    For this album, Auerbach goes all-in on a '70s AM Gold singer-songwriter vibe, teaming with an armada of veteran Nashville musicians at his new Eagle Eye Sound studio to craft a more laidback sound. Not to say that The Black Keys aren't a band that always have an eye on the past, but here Auerbach turns the fuzz way down on his guitar to evoke a fairly specific time and place.

    The shuffling title track kicks off the record and sets the mood fairly quickly. Our first taste of Waiting on a Song was the poppy lead single "Shine on Me," which sounds like George Harrison covering the theme to the '80s Sherman Hemsley sitcom Amen…a sentence I never would have expected to write. The track also features some guitar from the great Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame. Waiting on a Song also features collaborations with a few other artists from past generations, such as guitar legend Duane Eddy and singer-songwriter John Prine, who co-wrote, but doesn't play on, the title track.

    The warm organs and plinking strings on "King of a One Horse Town" would have fit nicely on The Arcs' record. "Cherrybomb" adds some samba whistles and rubbery bass that reminded me a bit of Santana and there's a Motown feel to "Undertow." Elsewhere, "Malibu Man" and "Stand By My Girl" both feature some big horns over some slightly corny storytelling. Auerbach has never been the most inventive lyricist, but he has some lovely moments and clever lines sprinkled throughout these new tunes. Overall, Waiting on a Song is a solid soundtrack to ease into the early days of summer.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio this week to receive a copy of Waiting on a Song on CD. Click here for details.

    Review by Joey O.

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