Friday, January 18, 2008

CD review: James Dunn, The Long Ride Home

James Dunn will be the first to tell you he's a huge Bruce Springsteen fan.

It's a good thing, because take one listen to his new album, The Long Ride Home, and it will probably be the first thing that comes to mind.

Produced by the Nashville team of Brian Layson and Tres Sasser, The Long Ride Home showcases Dunn's songwriting in what seems to be perfect form.

At times alt country and others straight up rock 'n roll, influences from Springsteen and Tom Petty have enriched his music without overpowering it.

A follow-up to his 2006 EP Lonely American Dream, The Long Ride Home opens with simple drums and an acoustic guitar but blooms from there to reveal thoughtful lyrics and lush arrangements. I said before that Dunn's music is perfect for driving, and I'll stand by that. (And after all, if you can't rock out to an album in the car, what good is it?)

Check out "Oh My Don't Cry," "Cards on the Table" and "Crush on You," all of which have become favorites on my iPod. Get ready, guys. You're going to be hearing a lot more about James Dunn.

Dunn, a Cary native who now spends his time between Raleigh and Nashville, will have his official CD release party March 8 at The Pour House. If you'd like to catch him live before then head out to Oliver Twist this Thursday. More tour dates are available on his website.

Pick up The Long Ride Home at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh, at or on iTunes.

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