Brooklyn based musician Danny Ross has released his debut album. He is a self-taught piano and guitar player. He later studied jazz piano at London’s Goldsmith’s College and majored in Popular Music Composition and Performance at Cornell. Ross currently works as a staffer for US Congressman Jerrold Nadler. His new release “One Way” shows him releasing a concept album about young adulthood in America. This is his second release with the first being an EP titled “Introducing Danny Ross”. “One Way” has been four years in the making.
Ross displays a wide variety of influences on the album from jazz, country, soul, pop and just plain rock. The album opens with the soothing piano ballad ‘Sleepy Dream’ which showcases the amalgamation of genres that he can go through in just a single track. With the twangy guitar, strings and piano melody he blends them in order to create a sleepy track with haunting vocals. the country influence is more apparent on the aptly titled ‘Country Wind’ and the Dylanesque ‘Already On My Way’, but it is prevalent throughout much of the album. Much of his guitar work on the album seems to come from country music with twangy guitar found on many of the tracks of the album.
Its very impressive that he arranged much of the strings, composed the music, and wrote the lyrics but that’s why it took four years to make. A lot of the music seems to want to display a vast change in dynamic between the instruments on different tracks. While the strings are almost gentle, the drums are loud, abrasive while a pianos are in almost every track. There’s some trumpets scattered on various parts of the record highlighting the climax of many of the tracks (Oh, Christine) or just complimenting some of the strings arrangements (Country Wind). Taking cues from fellow Goldsmith alums Blur, he creates melancholy keyboard outros much like on their sixth album “13”.
Much of the album shows that he is developing as a musician and is trying to capture some of the problems of young adulthood. Most of the focus of the album is with issue of love and problems facing his life. The horns give me a Mark Ronson vibe from the second half of the album, which I don’t think is necessarily a good thing but anything with horns kind of sounds like that. Not to say that the album resembles anything done by him, its full of original material with wholehearted lyrics. He tries to rock as hard as soft-rock can get in ‘This Is Just A Test’. The various genre hopping on the album shows that he still hasn’t found his own sound but is willing to experiment with different things, like ‘Go’. Its not an album that will hit you immediately but will grow more and more with future listens.
Danny Ross keeps a blog where he has explained many of his tracks and how they came to be inspired which is an interesting to find out how the tunes came about. “One Way” is in stores now, you can buy the album here.