DAN AUERBACH - Keep It Hid (2009) & Waiting On A Song (2017)
As frontman of the Black Keys, vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach embraced the raw sound of electric blues-rock alongside drummer Pat Carney. The Ohio-based band released a string of acclaimed albums during the early 2000s, including the Top 20 hit Attack & Release, before Auerbach opted to branch out with a concurrent solo career. Having built his own studio in Akron, OH, the songwriter began recording new material that melded his bluesy background with elements of psychedelia, country, and gospel. Recording sessions took place during the downtime between the Black Keys' tour dates, and Auerbach soon compiled enough material for a debut album. The resulting record, Keep It Hid, was released in 2009 by Nonesuch Records.
When Dan Auerbach released his debut solo album Keep It Hid in 2009, the Black Keys were on the verge of superstardom; it was a busman's holiday, not the start of a career. Waiting on a Song, its 2017 sequel, arrives in the midst of an extended hiatus from the Black Keys, who took a breather after a run of blockbusters that coincided with Auerbach establishing himself as a producer of note. On these extracurricular projects, Auerbach broadened his sonic palette, working with everybody from Americana stalwart Ray LaMontagne to post-modern noir diva Lana Del Rey, and he brings this new bag of tricks to Waiting on a Song. Sharing more in common with the groovy classic-soul moves of his 2015 side-project the Arcs than the heavy-footed stomp of the Black Keys, Waiting on a Song's heart lies in the glimmering productions of Jeff Lynne in the late '80s. "Shine On Me" glistens like an outtake from the Traveling Wilburys and it's not an isolated incident. Auerbach keeps circling back to this bright, cheerful sound, accentuating it with elements of Memphis soul and an undercurrent of classically constructed Americana. The title Waiting On A Song hints at such craftsmanship and its co-written by John Prine and Pat McLaughlin, whose presence sests that Auerbach is adding singer/songwriter to his impressive resume. The thing about this album is, it shows the power of craft across the board: he's become a vivid, imaginative producer and now he's writing songs to match.
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