Singer-songwriter Dan Lipton (from Washington, D.C.) is a bit of a troubadour. He wrote each of the songs on his album Breathing In, released last February, in different locations in the United States. Lyrically speaking, then, each of the 12 Americana and folk tracks is tied to a different geographic area and serve to share, in a way, Lipton’s perception of the various parts of his country.
Melodically speaking, one does get a sense that, indeed, this is the work of the same one person taking in inspiration from different places. There is something similar within each composition that gives listeners an idea of who Lipton is with each twist and flavour helping listeners see what he sees.
All the tunes feature the same basic instrumentation (acoustic guitars and gentle drums) accompanying Lipton’s gentle vocals. There is both a lot of strumming and (finger) picking that happens, one alternating with the other throughout the length of a given track. While the vocals do ebb and flow, they remain within a relatively limited emotional range.
Apparently, Lipton sees some places in America as more melancholic than others, and none of them seem to have inspired in him the desire to party. Does this say more about the traveller or the country travelled?
The gentle “Dark Water”, “Come on Georgia”, “Hudson River Line”, and “Wings of a Crow” seem to have been composed in those places that are either very quiet or have gone past their prime. Things seem a little more active in the places where “Whiskey and Wine”, “Mocking Bird”, “End of the World”, “Ride the Bus” and “Television” were written. As for “Breathing In”, “MTA”, and “Shade in the Shadow”, they seem to be where the action, however limited, is at.
“Breathing In” is a gentle ballad that has upbeat elements as well. The almost delicate instrumentation is driven by acoustic guitars. The vocals are confident but gentle, sometimes almost taking a backseat to the melody. The banjo in “Whiskey and Wine” adds a bit of lightness while the melody in “Mocking Bird” is heavily blues-tinged. “Come on Georgia” plays almost like an acoustic version of an alternative rock track while the wistful “Hudson River Line” could rock listeners to sleep like gentle river water can.
Pictures provided by Working Brilliantly.