There are so many words to describe this next artist I would not even know where to begin. Dave Yaden has played with some of the industries most up and coming artists like Tyler Hilton, Josh Kelly, and Lady Antebellum. When you put a piano in front of this man, or a keyboard for that matter, prepare to melt right they’re in your chair. I have had the chance to see Dave perform more than once and every time that I see him I am blown away by his obvious passion and desire for music.
In this album, “Bear Me Up”, Dave allows himself to branch out into the world of being a solo artist. Having been around the L.A. music scene for quite some time now, and playing alongside Joe Firstman when he began toying with the idea of making music his career, Dave has been able to find a nitch audience. Taking an almost Billy Joel sound but finding a way to make it better is what keeps me coming back to this album. So sit back, grab a nice glass of red wine, and let Dave take you on a journey.
The album starts with a song title ‘Can’t Let Go’. The early progression makes you want to stand up and start dancing. When it enters the core of the song and you hear some Todd Beauchamp chiming in the background you are in store for a great second half and complimenting close to this track. You are hit with a touch of a guitar solo toward the latter half of the song. This is well placed for a knockout finish. ‘Know its over but I can’t let go’ could have so many meanings and I can only imagine what he is trying to relate to here.
The next song begins like the most of his will, on piano. This is one of the best songs I feel that Dave will ever write. ‘My Angel’ begins with a soft progression similar to the first one, but a much more coffee shop feel to it. I want to sip a latte while listening to this. Having heard a lot of Dave’s early stuff, and some collaboration work he did with his side project band ‘The Weight’ I sense a lot of growth in his writing. His voice, while it has not changed over the years I have known him, compliments this music so well. This is the first track on the album you get a taste of Curtis Peoples in the background. Josh Kelley makes an appearance here as well. The line “your love is worth the price I paid” is something that I think everyone can relate to.
‘Alexandra’ is the next step on this trip. When I hear songs like this from other artists all I can help think is that they sit down to write a song and just let their emotions and feelings take complete control. I can just picture Dave sitting there with a notebook full of lines but just scratching to find the right words to say. I will be interviewing Dave later this week and I hope to gain a better understanding of what his inspiration was on some of these tracks. This song, similar to the first two, has that radio feel to them. I compare it a lot to Keaton Simons and the way he just sounds like he should be on the airwaves.
‘Down the Line’ is the next track and starts just where you expect it to. It reminds me of early Hanson until he begins singing. The line (no pun intended) “stop sending me down the line” is repeated time and time again in this track. And with a late progression leading to another set of repetition you start to feel something inside of you. This song, similar to a lot on this album, are tracks that I feel could be on the radio and you are not even listening to the lyrics but you are enjoying what you are hearing. Dave has a very eclectic sound and one that I feel that my grandfather could enjoy as much as a teenager could. But this individual track makes me think of being at high school prom and sitting down all-night and waiting on that special last dance. I can just see the punch bowls in the corner.
The title track comes in next. I have heard this song solo, full band, and now on album and I never get sick of it. The power behind his voice can bring tears to your eyes. I am searching to find someone that I can compare him to in my catalog of musicians but I really cant. There are not too many guys that could sing lines like “the feat of war has gripped my sister” like he can. Most albums that have a title track such as this make it their signature single. Not saying that this is not the signature single for Dave, who is very well could be with the quality in these lyrics, but it’s not what you expect the title track to sound like. When I listen to this song I sometimes close my eyes and just picture him playing right in front of me. You hear a little bit of Tony Lucca behind him toward the end and if you have not heard him, please do so now. These two men complement each other so much. Curtis is back they’re too making this a powerhouse of talent.
‘Drive Away’ comes on next and begins with a little more upbeat feel than where we just left. “So I’ll build this wall between us there ain’t no way to climb” is an incredible line and brining the pain that lies underneath this song to the surface. The concept behind this song is hurt and anger but shows hope in the piano. But you get that in the last half of the song. Talking about speaking his peace and hoping to speak again brings that optimism out from the early piano sounds. By the time this song is over you very well might be reaching for a box of Kleenex. Dave has such a way of bringing me to the story. He places me right there with tears rolling down my eyes and the dust coming from the car that is driving away. Hugging the person closest to you might be the only away to understand what I feel when this song is over.
The first half of ‘Sure of Us’ is Dave telling his side of the story. And with every story there are two sides. But in the first half you feel the thoughts that are running through his head. But not too far into this you hear the other side coming from Skyler Stonestreet. She tells the story all the while having a very subtle backing piano playing. You get an almost Herbie Hancock feel in the way her voice speaks through the speakers. His piano coupled with her vocals makes this one for the repeat button. They are sure that it isn’t love but maybe it really is. You decide.
One of my personal favorites is up next. ‘Ryder’s Song’ is the one song that I will remember Dave for no matter what his future holds. The song starts pretty slow but with the way he handles progression doesn’t stay that way for long. “Lay down my life to be with you” is just something I want to be able to say one day in a conversation. Curtis comes in again on the background vocals. I wish I had known prior to the interview with him last week that he was so heavy on this album but it’s the little surprises in life I guess that make it all worth it. This album is not a heavy album as far as the beats or the movement. It is a storyteller’s guide that has subtle hints of rock from some guitar solos but never gets too carried away.
The next song just helps me finalize my thoughts that someone might classify this as a churchgoer’s album. With the subtle organs that play throughout and the softness of his voice I might not be able to argue that. I will learn more about that next week when I sit down with Dave. One thing that I like, and I hope I am not alone on this, is how you are drawn into every ounce of these songs. Having seen him perform before might be part of it, but this is wine drinkers kind of an album.
The last song begins with a kick hint of country. But it quickly right
back where this entire album has left you on the piano keys. This track has about everyone you could think of involved on it including Curtis, Tony, Josh, and even his wife with the hand claps. All in all this is a very strong close to this album. It wraps up what is a very well written and produced album. Dave has so much drive and passion for this industry and with an out of the gate solo album this good there is nothing stopping him.
At the end of the album there is a bonus track. This is a remix from DJ Irony of ‘Down the Line’.