Dave Myers releases 'Big Break' CD
Rather than just waiting for his big break, David Myers has announced his — “Big Break” the album, that is. The CD also introduces Big Break the band, comprised of Myers on guitar and vocals, bass guitarist Alan Erickson and drummer Stephen Williams.
With seven tracks, the CD is more than an EP and not quite a full-length, but still manages to pack in a variety of styles and moods, all songs written by Myers. Don’t listen to just one track and think you’ve got the whole CD pegged genre-wise. It comes out of the gate with Newgrass, but by the end of the course it’s traveled through rock, blues, ska and punk.
Myers has been performing solo acoustic shows and winning fans locally for about a year and a half as “Handful of Dave.” For his first adventure in the recording studio he has surrounded himself with a strong supporting team of musicians well known to Salisbury listeners. In addition to bandmates Erickson and Williams, the CD features the talents of Keith Earnhardt (banjo) and Eric Webster (upright bass) of No9 Coal, and also guitarists Andrew Hodge and CaLeb Hill. Producer Jerod Jacobs not only recorded the project, he’s also heard on the recording on keys and guitar.
The opening track, “Il Leone” weaves an Americana-style soundtrack around a modern-day tall tale inspired by boxer Dominic “Il Leon” DeSanto. Myers knows his subject well, since he himself boxed for six years alongside DeSantos. After a shoulder injury, Myers gave up boxing and pursued music, which had been a self-taught interest of his for about 10 years. Clever lyrics abound in Il Leone, and Earnhardt’s banjo and Webster’s steady bluegrass bass further enhance this track. (A video of this performance can be found at http://sixfootkitten.com/Video.html). The handful of No9 Coal is a winning combination.
This is followed by “Heart of Mine,” a pensive, country-tinged song about the longing of unrequited love. Its purposeful hesitations at the end of phrases illustrate and support the lyrics which ponder the inability to make decisions when it come to love, and the lack of a strong musical resolution at the end implies a lack of closure heart-wise as well. Hill and Jacobs provide acoustic and electric guitar fills, adding a layer of interest without cluttering a sound that needs to remain simple.
Earnhardt and Webster return in track 3, “Harass & Arrest,” a first-person anecdote in boogie-grass style. The playful musical nature of the piece offsets its sardonic lyrics. So although it’s based on a real incident in Myers’ life, he comes across as more resigned than resentful.
The CD seems to evolve musically along the same lines as Myers’ career, moving chronologically from Handful of Dave acoustic-ness to plugged in Big Break. Drummer Williams edges toward the transformation, using brushes on the first two tracks then abandoning them for louder sticks from track three on. The fourth song, “The Cycle” serves as a dividing point between old and new, separating the the first three mostly acoustic numbers from the last three highly electric tracks. This song itself has one foot in each world, old and new. In fact, one might identify the actual “big break” as occurring in the midst of this song when Andrew Hodge bursts forth on lead electric guitar, ushering in the more aggressive songs that follow for the rest of the album.
Of the three numbers that form the electric wing of the album, the strongest, both lyrically and musically is the middle song, “Obewan.” Listening to this, one can see why Myers has drawn comparison to Jack White.
It remains to be seen if Big Break will continue to forge a rock and punk path, or if Handful of Dave will reel them back in to his acoustic roots. Those with eclectic tastes might enjoy a similar mix on future CDs. But typically, those who opt to purchase a CD instead of individual downloads of songs have a stylistic preference, and may hesitate to purchase a CD where only half the songs suit the purchaser’s musical taste. So this mix of styles has some marketing risk.
Myers is a creative lyricist with a strong, flexible voice and good guitar chops. Compositionally, he hasn’t yet punched through the harmonic confines of traditional chord choices, but what he has achieved within those restraints is remarkable. Had there been more than seven songs it could have become stilted; as he gains experience as a performer, he should become more musically adventurous. Big Break has recently added new member Ashley Honbarrier on congas and additional percussion, which will add another dimension to their sound this Friday at the CD release party and performance starting around 9 p.m. at the club Tabu, located underneath La Cava restaurant on the corner of South Church and West Horah Streets in Salisbury. Justin Dionne opens the show.
The Big Break CD will be available at Tastebuds, Stringfellows and the Blue Vine in Downtown Salisbury, Dixie’s Roasting Company in China Grove, and Blue Waters Pool.
The CD is also available at bigbreak.bandcamp.com .