You might not have heard of his name, but if you watch TV, chances are you have heard the music of Trent Dabbs. His music has been featured in a variety of shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Hawaii Five-0, Grey’s Anatomy; there was even a beautiful So You Think You Can Dance routine choreographed to his equally beautiful 2010 single ‘Inside These Lines’.
Earlier this month, Dabbs released an unexpected seventh album titled Future Like Snow. I say ‘unexpected’ because the album is actually quite a feat considering Dabbs has been touring with his side project, Sugar and the Hi Lows, since the group released their debut album on Valentine’s Day of this year. Apart from that, the singer-songwriter had just released another full length album, Southerner, in 2011. And if that’s not enough, he’s the co-founder of Nashville musical collective Ten by Tenn, and has written or co-written with 14 artists thus far.
Basically, this man is a music-making machine, with a Jack White work ethic and a Neil Young-ish sound. He’s really that good. Last year’s Southerner made two ‘Best of’ lists – iTunes’ Best of 2011 Indie Spotlights as well as Amazon’s Outstanding 2011 Albums You Might Have Missed.
Totally deserving of these honours, Southerner is one of those rarities that can be listened to straight through, multiple times. Unfortunately, Future Like Snow just didn’t quite reach the bar that was set by Dabbs a year ago. It lacks the attention-grabbing moments, and the highs and lows that made Southerner so unique.
That being said, by no means do I find Future Like Snow unworthy of listening to. I think it is a solid pop rock/soft rock-fused album. ‘Hoping For Home’ was a good track, laced with twinkling piano which lightened up the earthy acoustic sound. Later on, there’s ‘The Losing Touch’, which adds hints of electro into the album. Wrapping it up is the title track, a duet with Lori McKenna, bringing out the country roots of the Nashville singer-songwriter.
So what I’m saying is this: those who of you who are into this genre will definitely enjoy it a lot more than I did. But in terms of trying out Dabbs as a first time listener, this wouldn’t be the album I’d suggest as the place to start. It just didn’t get me jumping out of my seat, which was a little disappointing.
Although the album is good, challenging its predecessor would be just that – extremely challenging. But then again, Trent Dabbs is all about the music and just that – he is constantly creating/writing/discovering/supporting and just making music. So before we can even register what just happened, there’s going to be another album, band or protégé of his which will give us a whole new auditory experience.
Twang of disappointment aside, I still think Trent Dabbs is amazing and should be checked out by all. So keep an ear out next time you’re watching some sappy, overdramatic TV show – clearly, they can actually have some great music!