Dan Haynes’ debut album, “Had Some Falls” is available now and features new music plus a few songs on the bonus track material from the “Hiding in The Lanes” EP, and as Dan Haynes is about to start his Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 run of concerts, this is the perfect time for a review and link into the live shows - Dan Haynes – Had Some Falls Tour, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Theatre 2, Nicolson Street, EH8 9DW, August 2-24, 3,10 pm
If the name Dan Haynes is not one yet on the tip of the tongue, then this album will go a long way to putting it there as this is the work of both a skilled musician and songwriter. Dan Haynes is a man clearly not only following in the footsteps of one of his own songwriting heroes, Paul Simon, but one also giving that gently flowing and at ease style of songwriting his own touch and identity.
The music on this album has a depth to it of songwriting ability that allows Dan to tackle some very hard moments in people’s lives beneath the surface sounds of gentle and soothing music. Listen to the words of “Home With Us”, a story of a harsh reality of life that so many people will have to face up to dealing with at some time in their lives.
As a writer, Dan seems to instinctively understand what makes people different as individuals, and the emotions that drive us all. In this album, stories of love (Sweet July), the fundamental things that make us all the same (Eyes We Look Through ), personal feelings of self-doubt (Always Wanting More) blend with songs of personal loss and the ever changing fortunes of relationships. As well as a talented songwriter with a very smooth and soothing voice to listen to, Dan is also a very good guitarist, and the high studio production values on this album allow those instrumental skills to be heard at their best.
The bonus material on this album featuring Jenny Groucutt on vocals and guitar (a member of “Calmer Wave” with Dan) from the " Hiding in the Lanes” EP is noticeable for a subtle difference in style of writing and instrumental arrangements that also feature electronic music that at times have a very ambient sound to them moving into at times a later period “Beatles” sound that contrasts with a more Americana folk feel. It is going to be interesting to watch what directions Dan Haynes takes his music into in future songs.
This is an album that I like for many reasons, and one is that all too many “debut album” artists these days feel that they have to have a different song in a different style on every track to prove their “versatility”but, here, Dan Haynes knows what he is very good at and stays close to that format all through this album. The result is a collection of songs that belong together rather that a collection of disconnected music which the other approach all too often produces.
Dan Haynes is a man of many musical projects, and in addition to his own music writing and successful international performances, he is also one half on the very successful duo “Bookends” with his friend and long-time musical partner Pete Richards. Bookends is a musical tribute to the music of Simon and Garfunkel, but absolutely not a tribute band, and as well as international success, Bookends have been selling out every performance of their nearly month long run at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe for many years now, and this year is no exception. I mention Bookends for two reasons.
First, the music of Simon & Garfunkel is a large part of Dan’s musical heritage and his own music is not copying his musical heroes, the influence is there, and if you want to create, as Dan does, finely crafted songs of melody and harmony then there are few better masters to take influence from than Paul Simon.
Second, with Bookends, it is Pete who takes main vocals leaving Dan to concentrate on some impressive guitar work (plus vocal harmonies), so if you want to get a chance to hear some classic songs plus more of Dan on guitar and vocals, then try to get a ticket for one of this year’s “Bookends” performances too. Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years, theSpace @ Symposium Hall, Hill Square, EH8 9DR. August 2-25 at 8.45 pm
DAN HAYNES - HAD SOME FALLS
1 Had Some Falls
2 You Come Alive
3 Wise Man's Fool
4 Sweet July
5 Eyes We Look Through
7 Always Wanting More
8 Home with Us
9 Can't Break This Child in Myself
10 Has It Always
11 Nice to Feel Wanted
12 The Falseness
13 A Long Wait for Nothing
14 Hiding in the Lanes
Review by Tom King