Back in the day, people used to make albums. You’d put it on the turntable, drop the needle and listen to all the songs in order. The record just flowed, and the songs all made sense. The rock songs had guitar solos, the ballads had keyboards, and the background vocals were spare, but tasty. There were hooks and choruses, and at some point you’d find yourself singing along to a chorus because no one wore ear buds back then, and you could just crank up the volume to drown out your own voice.
Drew Nelson has made an album – and a very fine one at that. “Promised Land” kicks off the record with a jolt that’s reminiscent of Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” (the song) or Mellencamp’s “Rain on the Scarecrow.” It’s a classic album opener that hints at what’s to come. He follows it up with “Danny and Maria,” a rousing rocker with small-town lyrics and an unforgettable chorus that you’ll sing along to in the car or shower or wherever you hear it. Next comes “Dust” with soaring pedal steel and a frustrated anger that’s sure to put more than a few mortgage bankers ill at ease. And so it goes for about 48 minutes. There’s a great driving song (“Lessons”) that just rolls along; a quiet love song (“My Girl”); a country waltz with a drinking protagonist (“What She Does”); and a shimmering, shuffling rock song (“Copper”) with U2 guitars and Brian Eno ambience. It’s a complete experience. It’s an album. Buy it, burn it or playlist it and then listen to it…in order…start to finish.