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Dan Weintraub – Songs For Beautiful Souls

Dan Weintraub’s songs aren’t just another set of tunes, they are offered as a memorial in honour of two young people who were tragically killed in a car accident in Northern Vermont. It’s often a fitting way to offer tribute in song, and so here we have a set of earnest reminders that life is fragile and those of us who are left behind have a duty to remember the legacy of others.

‘Janie Like No Other’ doesn’t linger on sadness, but rather channels an upbeat feel that keeps the song looking onwards and upwards. Of course, there is an underlying sense of loss that should be expected, but it is used here in the song to give a strong sense of memory and the impact that people have had on our lives. In terms of tone, there’s some good old fashioned classic rock going on here, at times leaning towards early R.E.M. with splashes of country and flecks of Americana. All in all, ‘Janie’ stands strong as a song that honours memory while also points out that new music will always be made, and it will always tell a story to be passed on to others.

‘Because Love Lasts Forever’ is more restrained in its approach – slower, with lingering, drawn out guitar chords that allow plenty of space for Dan Weintraub’s voice to stand clearly atop the instrumentation and carefully let the lyrics unfold. Here his vocal is more intimate, with a deeper tone and a clarity to his breath that creates a touching atmosphere. Add to that the eerie strings that gradually appear, creating a broad soundscape that invites the listener to step into its world and get lost for a while, allowing the tones and textures to be all there is. Lyrically, it doesn’t get more human than “And You say love lasts forever /
But You aren’t taking my my hand / And I scream at my maker / Tell me why, I demand.”

The third in this set of songs is ‘Light’, somewhat more stripped back with the feel of a classic singer-songwriter’s creation. The lower end of the track’s tone has a deep rumble to it that adds a sense of gravity and weight, allowing the spritely lead guitar to dance effortlessly and the piano notes to jump out with real character.

Dan Weintraub has managed to produce some songs here that could so easily have fallen into a pit of over emotional earnestness, but thankfully his writing and recording methods mean that Songs For Beautiful Souls manages to evoke feelings without making the listener ever feel manipulated in any way. While it can’t be avoided that these songs have been born out of tragedy and pain, it’s a good thing that art can rise up out of those ashes. Thankfully, no matter what we go though in this life, new music will always be created to communicate our stories, and that is exactly what has been achieved here.

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