by Beverly Paterson
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. That’s Dan Markell, whose star-studded resume involves, but is not limited to, collaborating with legendary comedian Steve Allen, numerous contributions to film and television, and working with famed figures such as former Wings member Denny Seiwell, and Jim Babjak and Dennis Diken of the Smithereens.
A busy man he is, and his new album, Eleven Shades of Dan Markell, confirms to be yet another gold-plated achievement. The title of the disc, by the way, stems from the fact eleven tunes are featured, and they certainly do all offer a different shade. A different shade of pop rock mind you, as that’s the style of music Dan so effectively excels in.
Rare is the album where every single song leaps out of the speakers, melts in your ears, steals your heart, and makes a lasting impression, but that’s the case with “Eleven Shades of Dan Markell.” Reams of chiming six-string chords frame the unbelievably catchy “Truly Julie,” while “Wallpaper Conversation” gives off a light and airy vaudeville scent, and then there’s the powerfully built “Electric Sunshine,” which crunches and crashes to a slaving beat that actually does father visions of electric sunshine. A pinch of distortion supplies “Don’t Let Yourself Grow Tired” with a rough and ragged reflex, where “Every Other Guy” and “Seven Shades of Green Envy” are nothing less than top of the line pop rock efforts.
Dan’s vocals sparkle and shine with color and feeling. His lyrics are smart and thoughtful, leading to the type of tunes that read like short stories. But the delivery is earnest and playful. Sturdy hooks, ringing and resounding left and right, also wheel the songs on Eleven Shades of Dan Markell, not to exclude the super-cool guitar dynamics gracing each track.
Although the record pays healthy respect to the melody minted maestros of the past, namely Big Star, Crowded House, and Squeeze, Dan’s take on traditional pop rock definitely resides in the present. More please!