(This review is based on a listen of eight of the 18 tracks on the disc.)
It used to be music was more than general platitudes about romance, love and fighting for your right to par-tay, and at least partly about presenting confessions. You listen to Mike Dalton and the band and you're swept away, not in morass of morbidity, but a life story in 18 chapters.
Dalton offers the complexity of voice that comes with anyone even mildly worth listening to - in casual conversation or in your headphones; on the bar stage or blasting around your apartment.
You gotta love yourself
You got no help in singing alone sometimes
Sometimes we don't mind
But I'm a father ...."
That from "College Avenue" which comes after "Goober" - a song that features a spoken introduction by Dalton's young son. And maybe it's just me and my absent and now dead father, but songs about fathers who love being a parent take me somewhere else in my head.
The first few intro phrases of "Story of my Life" echo Michelle Shocked's "Anchorage," - another tale with real life characters. The melody drives the song in a happy reflection of a life lived within his means.
Looking through my pictures I see all the ones I love.
How I miss my mother who I never gave enough
Now I really need her
I'm in trouble once again
I can't make it through it
She'd say, Michael, yes, you can
I put away the bottle once for two days in a row
I'm giving up Sambuca** too, after one more show
It's such a long long way to go
And running out of gas
Most of my decisions come and bite me in the ass.