The last time we heard Dan Auerbach as a solo artist was 2009’s Keep it Hid. With the boogie swamp shuffle of “I Want Some More” and the lush harmonies of “Trouble Weighs a Ton” this was first time we hear Dan Auerbach stretching his legs towards their grammy winning “Brothers.” I love the Black Keys but I always eagerly anticipate any solo work of Dan Auerbach.
Now we have a followup 8 years since Keep it Hid, “Waiting on a Song” and Dan has certainly shifted sonically. Moving to the home of country music, Nashville, has certainly influenced his sound but this isn’t modern pop country that you’re thinking of (Thank God he hasn’t teamed up with Rascal Flatts or Florida Georgia Line). Instead we hear a more traditional style of country in the vein of Gram Parsons and John Prine, focusing on lyrical story telling, lush orchestration and skilled session musicians. It may seem like quite a jolt from fans of the traditional Black Keys album but I really enjoyed this album front to end. Stand outs like “Malibu Man” and “King of a One Horse Town” have the groove and guitar chops you would come to love from Dan & The Black Keys but with hints at his transplanted country home. One song I could do without is “Cherrybomb.” It has potential with its beginning groove but never really finds an intriguing second part to the song, leaving it easily skipped after the first minute.
All in all, this album makes me look forward the continued direction of Dan’s career as a producer, musician and songwriter. True longevity in music these days requires dexterity to fluidly move from one genre to another, keeping fans interested. I think Dan continues show us the diversity of his growing skills as a musician.