Artist – Shane Sweeney
Album / Label – Love, The Dynamo / Unsigned
Rating – 9/10
Here we are,
trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.
~ Kurt Vonnegut
Having an innate capacity for storytelling is a phenomenon that is severely foreign to most of us that inhabit this spinning chunk of rock we call home. We go about our daily existence looking at the world around us in one dimension, never realizing the myriad existential planes that surround us. At the heart of it all, it’s a rather pedestrian situation we find ourselves ensconced within.
Shane Sweeney is anything but pedestrian. After seven albums and almost twenty years as a member of Two Cow Garage, recording and releasing numerous singles, EP’s and albums as a solo artist, and now a part of Columbus “supergroup” DEADnettles, Sweeney has honed his musicianship and perception to a point where the way he sees the world around him seems vastly different than the rest of us.
The combination of his voice, the music and the way he can spin a tale demand attention. The whiskey-tinged and smoky overtones of the vocals on his latest extended play conjure images of Tom Waits in his youth. Love, The Dynamo finds Sweeney waxing eloquent about the minutiae of life’s travails, all the while dripping with a melancholy veil that commands introspection from the listener.
Comprising six tracks of mellifluous rectitude, Love, The Dynamo will run your emotions through the proverbial wringer in merely 18 minutes. To say that these songs are poignant and timely would be a grand understatement.
These songs sweep from high peaks to shrouded valleys, weaving around every bend, yet never hitting the listener head-on. Sweeney is circumspect in his storytelling, allowing the tale to develop naturally at a pace that you can aurally consume without feeling he has lost you along the way.
Sweeney begins the journey with Weeping Willow, the airy guitar notes juxtaposed with the desolate sadness of the lyrics. “Weeping willow, weeping willow, how righteous you can be, to take away everything that makes a person free…”
Constant, Constant continues with the ethereal airiness of his guitar wafting beautiful notes throughout that belie the woeful burden he is forced to shoulder.
In An Instant is where you can readily imagine Tom Waits serenading you in his own unique and somewhat twisted way. Sweeney channels the eerie vibe of a nefarious carnival barker as the story pours forth.
The sadness returns with the strident tinkling of the ivory on Defiantly Sing. “Here we are…” he sings, the resignation evident in his voice. As the number slowly picks up in its intensity, he almost seems to spit the lyrics out at various times, before degenerating into a mournful howl.
Lost Crusade‘s guitar intro portends the possibility, however slight, of a brighter future. Alas, he never seems to reach the promise of the happy ending, becoming resigned to his fate.
The final track is a melancholy, yet slightly soaring ode titled Baby Boomer’s Blues. “Cause that’s not the way the world works, we should be happy with the things we had…” is a figurative gut punch to the reality that is our daily life. He leaves buoyed with the realization that we have each other. And sometimes, that is enough to get you through the ups and downs of our existence.
Love, The Dynamo, although only six tracks in length, is a slice of real Americana that will resonate today, tomorrow and on into the future.
- Weeping Willow
- Constant, Constant
- In An Instant
- Defiantly Sing
- Lost Crusade
- Baby Boomer’s Blues
Shane Sweeney – Baby Boomer’s Blues