Midwesterner Dan Hazlett ambles out on The Corner of My Eye with a gently undulating cadence and an ever-so-comfy vocal on “The Alchemy of Fish,” beginning an album-long connection with every classic 1970s-era singer-songwriter type.
His knowing tale of passion’s confusion in “What the Heart Knows” recalls Steve Forbert, while “Empty Room” has a loping confidentiality that sounds like nothing so much as the Band’s Rick Danko. “Alien” settles into a sweet and approachable chorus out of Stephen Bishop. “Nobody’s Fool” could have found a home on any James Taylor album.
From there, Hazlett continues spinning these finely woven moments, each of them as heartfelt as they are amiable. “Built to Last” is a delightful reverie, made complete with the additional of a pleading steel guitar. “Secret Tattoo” is impossibly love filled, as warm and full of promise as a summer evening. Same with “The Other Side of Dawn,” powered along by a romantic trumpet and a cooing lyric.
Hazlett’s title track is the rare exception, a dark and smoky rumination. More typical of this lovely throwback to a simpler time of music making is the closing track on The Corner of My Eye, as Hazlett dives ever deeper into the calming waters of “Where the Blue Meets the Blue.”
Hazlett’s work here seems as familiar as it is cozy, as reminiscent of another time as it is timeless and connective. After the turbulent end of the 1960s and the Vietnam War sounds like these were a balm for a nation weary from conflict. In many ways, they are again now.