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Dan Peart - Truth Be Told


14 tracks

Solo acoustic blues is hard to pull off. If someone makes a mistake, the blame is easy to affix. But if things go well, it’s easy to figure out who to compliment. Here we have an intriguing and well done CD by an Iowa blues man who has put his heart and soul into his first, self-released CD.

Dan recently won second place in the 2009 Iowa Blues Challenge for Solo/Duo Blues. His powerful, driving acoustic guitar and solid harp playing made this album grow on me more and more with every listen and one can see why he placed second in the competition! The album is an ambitious undertaking, with 14 solo tracks released here from 34 that he laid down for copyright and demo purposes in 2008. Recorded live in the studio, he lays it out for all to see and what he has done shows well. His songs evoke his strong, positive attitude; his faith both in God and in people comes out in the tempos and lyrics to his songs.

The song Dan chose to open the album with, “Hallelujah!” sets the tone for an inspired and rollicking CD. He goes from track to track relishing life, telling us mostly joyful stories from his youth to his adulthood in his lyrics. He is a river bluesman who truly enjoys his life, his relationships and, especially, his music.

Most of the tracks are quite lively and upbeat. He fills in the spaces between his vocals with very strong guitar and harp lines; he blows and picks with great skill. If there is one “complaint” that I have, it is that only the last track shows us a very different and much softer side of this artist. His vocals up to this last song are pushed to a gruff and bluesy tone and his harp and guitar work hard to impress the listener. But in the last track, “Isn’t That The Truth…”, he shows us Peart in a completely and totally exposed position, singling softly and reverently, picking with great care and filling in here and there with harp to support his vocals. This song was my out and out favorite. While Dan shows us in the prior 13 tracks how he can bounce around adeptly in his honky tonk and fast paced stuff, when he really slows it down he gives us something truly great to listen to.

If you are a fan of acoustic guitar work, you will be impressed with how Peart moves up and down the frets with single notes, chords and providing a strong back beat. Harp fans will enjoy his vibrant style of play. This is a nice opening effort for a talented musician. If this CD is indicative of what Peart can do, I am sure we will be seeing much more of this guy in years to come!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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