Dan Wilson

Free Life | American/Sony
By KEN MICALLEF  |  November 19, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
The Dixie Chicks loved Dan Wilson so much, they asked him to compose five songs on their 2006 album, one of which was the single “The Long Way Around.” Sony savior Rick Rubin loved Dan Wilson so much, he signed him to his American imprint, writing in a press release, “There exists a purity and honesty in his work that is few and far between in today’s music.” Commoner fans of Dan Wilson remember his classy and classic ’90s band Semisonic, and before that Trip Shakespeare. Whatever his guise, Wilson writes homespun songs that pull at the heart with deep hooks and engaging melodies. He’s a singer-songwriter of the ’70s school, relying on equal parts intimacy and harmony to connect. “You’ve got all the sugar you’ll ever need,” he sings on “Sugar” (where he’s joined by yet another admirer, Sheryl Crow), and that’s the menu for Free Life. The songs are sturdy enough, evoking classic Neil Young and post-Byrds Roger McGuinn, but given Wilson’s tremulous voice and sweet song titles, it sometimes seems he’s singing to a kindergarten class. And then on “Baby Doll,” “Golden Girl,” “Honey Please,” and “Come Home Angel,” he seems to be in the running for “sweetest guy alive.” It’s as if he were trying to impress mom while keeping the kids at bay.

Dan Wilson + Sondre Lerche | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | November 27 | 617.931.2000

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  Topics: CD Reviews , Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Rick Rubin,  More more >
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