Don Valentine, I DON'T HEAR A SINGLE
Another returning hero on IDHAS. I suppose you might consider us generally having a Pop Rock base and so I can tell you that Chicago's Dolph Chaney is probably the nicest musician and man in Pop Rock. Forever modest and appreciative, I'm not sure that he appreciates what a great singer songwriter that he is.
His previous two albums, 2020's Rebuilding Permit and 2021's This Is Dolph Chaney appeared in both of our Best Of Years and now we have Mug. As well as this lyrically being an open your heart affair, the guests also take the songs into unexpected directions.
Firstly multi instrumentalist Nick Bertling adds greatly to album as well as producing and mixing the offering and throughout our lifetime, I can't remember when Bertling hasn't added gold dust to an album. The wonderfully acoustic Cool In The Sunshine is enhanced by the backing vocals of voice of an angel, Gretchen's Wheel's Lindsay Murray.
The centre piece is the magnificent Piano Pop of Bad Bet with some stunning Piano and Organ from Brian Simms. However, I don't want to give the impression that it is the guests that make the album, because they just enhance it, these are the performances of Dolph Chaney and his songwriting.
From the AOR of Good Luck With All That to the Jangle of How It Really Was. From the Americana of Love Around You to the urgent back story of Californiagain, Then there is the epic West Coast Rock of Only Hope, a splendid thing that approaches 6 minutes. Ice Cream Embers even enters 80s Pop Rock.
For all the depth on show here, there is something really special when Chaney lets rip. Mr Eli threatens to explode but manages not to detonate. But Celtic (The Mirror) doesn't hold back courtesy of some top notch guitar from Walker Brigade's Jeff Charreaux and the rock out vocal from Chaney.
Mug is one of the great Singer Songwriter albums, lyrically adept, heartwarmingly melodic and a wonderful production of 13 special songs. Varied, but incredibly well held together, the songs provide a platform for Chaney to continue to his forward momentum. By The Way, I want one of those mugs.