The word folk music gets thrown around a lot but it’s hard not to think of American folk pioneers like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger when thinking of the word. These artists relied on narratives that were usually supported by a single acoustic instrument. The message and vocals were front and center and were always the most important part of the song. The recent release Immigrant Girls by Dan Sullivan has a lot in common with folk music you would hear from the ‘40s.
Sullivan writes simple guitar-based songs that put his vocals front and center. HIs vocal style is even reminiscent of folk singers from the ‘40s. He has a slight country twang that is stoic but also covers a decent amount of melancholy. I’m not sure how old Sullivan but his voice has that “I have seen too much and like to drink a lot of whiskey” quality which makes it attractive in its own unique way.
On the first song “Trickle Down” Sullivan sings about trickle-down economics. It’s a short one but a good one. He plays guitar and implements short bursts of what I believe are digital horns to sing over. It’s a catchy tune. “Crown Of Gold” is another solid song that revolves around a walking bass line, guitar and orchestral strings. Sullivan’s voice fits the mood perfectly and carries the song.
“21st Century paranoid blues” sounds a bit like elevator music as Sullivan combines drums with light guitar, bass and airy synths. It was a bit of a deviation and probably not the strongest song on the album. Sullivan gets back on track with “Every Single Day” and “Sometimes love means letting go,” which were two highlights amongst the album.
Sullivan sounds best with a guitar that is prominent in the mix and little else. The synths he adds on a couple of songs did little for me and took away from the music. I really enjoyed Sullivan’s singing style but there were a couple of times he was noticeably off key. Despite these two minor issues I was still able to enjoy Immigrant Girls. Sullivan might not resonate with everyone but I would suggest giving it a listen.
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