Please click here to listen to the February 13, 2020 There Once Was A Note radio show, featuring The Artist’s Block: Dolph Chaney, which includes his early working track of “A Good Road Is Hard To Find” from “Rebuilding Permit.”
You can also read our review of Dolph’s Big Stir Digital Single “The Handling,” from this album, here.
I offered my take on Dolph’s music as a whole in my review of his single “The Handling,” which you can read at the link above. I don’t want to repeat what I wrote there, and I thought it was an accurate overview, but I will add an additional nuance for you to consider, via Lou Reed:
“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out…”
What sets Dolph’s music apart is that he sees the loss in magic and the magic in loss, and isn’t afraid to write songs about both with equal intensity and commitment.
Dolph isn’t a purveyor of pop songs in the same way that The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” isn’t The Beach Boys’ “Shut Down Volume 2.” Yes, he can come up with a pop song in a manner that’s every bit as adept as his current peers in the musical world. Are his songs “pop?” Maybe. Are they “rock?” Maybe. When he sent me the working track of “A Good Road Is Hard To Find” for inclusion on my There Once Was A Note radio show, I heard it, loved it, and said “Sounds like a great lost Bob Seger track.” Dolph’s Response? “Bob Seger? I’ll take it!”
And that’s another aspect of Dolph’s musical playground…he can pull off a track that sounds like prime Seger, and 8 other tracks that won’t make you think about Bob for a single second. He can yank you into the Bob Mould / Sugar / Husker Du vortex, and on the next track, he’s delivering a thoughtful, fragile, achingly wise acoustic gem.
I’ll give you one more touchstone for the album…Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday’s parting words to Kurt Russell’s Wyatt Earp in the movie “Tombstone”…
“There’s no normal life, Wyatt…there’s just life.”
Dolph doesn’t paint a picture of pain as the absence of joy, or joy as the absence of pain. “There’s just life,” and he approaches it all, unflinchingly, with humor, warmth, and the deep wisdom of a man who absolutely knows that a good road is hard to find.
The Big Stir winning streak of 2020 continues, unabated. Buy this one and prepare to be overwhelmed by its depth and compassion.