When Dunne sings that he just wants “to ride easy on the slow train” with steel guitars and piano behind him, you get the feeling he’s more comfortable with the past than the present. You can probably bet he’s not referring to Amtrak in “Slow Train”. The music found on Songs from the Hive – with shades of Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams, The Basement Tapes, etc – evokes a version of America that doesn’t really exist anymore. As such, Dunne’s version of Country is more authentic than anything on Country Radio at the moment.
It shouldn’t come as surprise that Dunne’s influences include Bruce Springsteen, The Band and Bob Dylan. The quieter and more introspective side of Springsteen hangs over Songs from the Hive like a guiding light: with references to “the promised land, and dark tales over acoustic guitar. Songs from the Hive is more Nebraska and than Born in the U.S.A.
Much of Songs from the Hive moves along at a crawling pace, leaving plenty of space to draw the listener in. There’s nothing fast or hurried about this set. This is a collection of songs that have been lived in. You can hear the bruises in Dunne’s voice especially on the somber “I Don’t Wanna Lose You.” Even the louder songs – “California (Rock Me Slow)” and “You’re Not Ready” – never really blast off but contain a down-home shuffle that fits the vibe of the rest of the album.
Remarkably, Songs from the Hive sounds neither contemporary nor old. Like the Dunne’s influences it manages to exist of out of time. When you listen to it, you wouldn’t think that these songs were recorded recently, but rather that they’ve always existed in some form and you’ve just now discovered a hidden gem.
For more info on Brian Dunne, check out his web-site and listen to “Born a Fool” below: