Press Play: Danny Click’s ‘Life Is a Good Place’
Posted: 10/21/2011 06:20:00 AM PDT
“Life Is a Good Place”
Danny Click, the journeyman Marin singer-songwriter-guitarist, comes into his own with this often moving collection of original Americana songs dealing with themes of mortality and loss, resilience and redemption.
Click is at his best when he writes from his own experience on songs like “10 Years,” a lament about his confusion and his mother’s sorrow over the deaths of his father and brother when he was 10. Click’s mournful tenor vocal is accompanied by his acoustic guitar and the crying strains of Greg Leisz’s pedal steel.
A Neil Young-style “Heart-of-Gold” beat propels the emotionally moving “Blue Skies,” another broken-hearted ballad about the passing away of Click’s older brother, Jim, who taught Click his first guitar chords. Poetic verses like, “The last sunny day I saw you/Graveyard dirt on my shoes/And then nothing,” give way to a soaring chorus that ends with Click expressing survivor’s guilt, singing, “I don’t know why you’re gone and I’m still here.”
The influence of Young is evident again in the acoustic guitar work on the title track, which breaks seamlessly into an anthemic chorus that offers hope and promise without succumbing to sentimentality.
The first single, “Wait My Turn,” is the kind of I-been-done-wrong country rocker that will have audiences singing along with its defiant lyrics putting two-faced lovers on notice. It’s no surprise that this one is getting airplay on country radio.
Click falters when he strays from his own story into the generic. The opening track, the loping country song “I Feel Good Today,” suffers from cliche rhymes and tired tropes about lost love. But that’s just one misstep on an otherwise heartfelt album from a musician at the top of his game backed on this disc by seasoned veterans of Jackson Browne’s and Emmy Lou Harris’ bands.
“Life Is a Good Place” ends with a “hidden” 12th track, “Life Is Short,” a lovely instrumental featuring sparse piano refrains that dissolve into a poignant melody played by cello and strings and the hum of ethereal voices. It’s an unexpected, plaintive coda to an emotionally stirring album.
Buy it: “Life Is a Good Place,” Danny Click, DogStar Records, CD Baby, $12.99 CD, $9.99 download