Danny Click – Holding up the Sun
Until a few years ago, Danny Click was one of Austin’s best-kept secrets, a musician’s musician who’d won the respect of some of alt-country’s biggest names but hadn’t yet found widespread recognition. That changed when Click’s CD, “Life Is A Good Place,” was released in April, 2011 and spent more than 12 consecutive months on the Country, pop, and Americana radio charts. The first single, “Wait My Turn”, reached #1 on Nashville’s Indie World Country Chart, and the second single, “I Feel Good Today”, topped out at #14 on the NMW national Country chart along side Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, where Click now resides, he’s built a large and passionate fan base that includes musical greats Carlos Santana and Elvin Bishop, both of whom have joined him on stage for impromptu jams. Click and his band The Hell Yeahs, featuring a round-robin roster of top-shelf musicians, have played more than 200 sold-out shows over the past two years, as well as opening for legends Taj Mahal, Cake, Robert Plant, Mavis Staples, Sonny Landreth and JJ Cale. Click moved to Austin, where his three-piece alt-country outfit, Danny and the Hurricanes, was a local phenomenon. He then spent three years with Americana artist Jimmy LaFave. Fast forward to 2013. After four previous records and literally hundreds of gigs on the road, Click’s latest single, Baptize Me Over Elvis Presley’s Grave, went to #9 and stayed in the top 10 for the entire month of October, 2013. The music video is on CMT and is a viral share online. In 2014, Danny became a regular guest at Grateful Dead legend Phil Lesh’s club, Terrapin Crossroads and released a ripping live CD, ‘Danny Click & the Hell Yeahs! “Captured LIVE!”
In April 2015, Danny and band finished a brand new studio album with legendary producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, etc.) “Holding Up The Sun” is the bluesy albeit very country rock of the year if you ask me, a not so country loving person. But I’m not one to balk at good music whether I like it or not, so I welcomed the challenge to review something like this. Especially when you can tell right out of the gate that they’re seasoned vets. You don’t snub fine musicianship, you have to boil it all down to taste and say something positive about it but give critical points that might’ve benefitted from forethought. Well, that’s even hard to do on this CD, as it starts with a very well written piece of music on “Broken.” This doesn’t exactly float my boat but any easy listening lover would eat this up, so in their element they make no mistakes on this soft but smart-folk acoustic lead-off tune. The following track “When You Cry” is more of the same, really. I just can’t get into it, and it falls under the weaker numbers once it’s said and done. There just isn’t much I can write home about it. One of two or three spots that bring an otherwise great record to its knees. I can still appreciate the musicianship of Click and company, just not with mush to give concerning the second track. Track three is the folk styled “Eva Jane” and it’s a fine song, don’t get me wrong, but for all of its beauty, it’s also dull around the edges. I’m torn on this one because although it’s obviously well written and sung/played, it verges on boring. This is coming out of someone with not much love for country and that is the problem, however I have recognized Click as a great blues player so I am familiar with some of his work and impromptu jamming with some of my favorite blues and rock artists. Speaking of boring, one more track falls under that tag and it’s the title number which doesn’t do the release any favors but it is what it is. “Holding Up The Sun” is saved by a terrific female vocal balance. Otherwise it borders on insipid. I just can’t hold back when this is the case, but it’s still not hurting the point rating any, holding steady marks. But the next track “Without You” makes up for a lot, in-fact it’s one of the better tracks and easiest for me to wrap my head around, not being of the country crowd. This goes a little pop but keeps grounded mostly in blues roots. It’s a little reminiscent of “Couldn’t Get It Right” by the Climax Blues Band. If you look at it that way and add some more modern mainstream values and you have a contemporary classic of sorts. It also reminds me of Michael Stanley Band. “Everything’s Alright” is more like it too, and the CD starts to take on its ultimate powers. This is an energetic but very healing tune. The slide guitar is so infectious it harks back to before country rock got big in the 80s but catapults clear into the future as well. This is a smoking hot track that is contrasted very well by the follow-up “What I Do” which is another super slow track but for me the best one to be found on the disc. It’s amazing how one can turn me off and the next do the opposite on the slower tracks. The audio is sensational and keeps the points up as well. After surprisingly liking that, in walks “Trouble’s Comin’” with more swagger to toss around and proves that a little inconsistency isn’t going to stop you from enjoying the whole platter. This is another winner for them, as it’s based in radio rock for the masses. “Where Were You” and “What’ll I Tell My Heart” contrast each other very well and both are as good as the rest on offer. The closer goes back to the structure of the opener to match the proceedings on the way out, as the way they came in.
This isn’t a perfect ride but not all that bumpy either, at this point of the road for Danny Click’s hard working band, but it is an adventurous and often beautiful trip along the countryside, taking them more into that territory. But my points off are more attributed to my taste than the quality to be found on it.