Des Moines, Iowa singer-songwriter Dan Trilk started playing guitar at the age of nine. By the time he was twelve he was fronting his first band Splat and playing talent shows, ice cream socials and private events. The young musical entrepreneurism stayed with Trilk who is now a professional musician and music instructor in Des Moines.
Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign Dan Trilk has finally released his debut record Iowa Weather. The songs on the Iowa Weather were recorded both before and after Trilk and his wife began their family which gives the songs a wider range of time and inspiration. They are steeped in folk, blues and country, and are played au naturel with a twangy acoustic guitar and the vocals to match.
Iowa Weather opens further down river with the tongue in cheek “Mississippi Woman” on which Trilk waxes and wanes in his Devandra Banhart-esque essence about his Mississippi woman, as he slowly finger picks at his acoustic guitar and keeps the kick drum thumping in time.
Next on the old time country crooner “I’m Gonna Drink” Trilk pulls out the all the Willy Nelson et al bells and whistles to make a pretty perfect old time country tune complete with a chorus border-lining the serious and the quirky “I’m gonna drink / I’m gonna stink / I’m gonna pass out in the garden of eden / I’m gonna laugh / I’m gonna cry / I’m gonna beat around this burning bush I’m needing.” He gets serious on the somber and sober look at a man dealing with the everyday troubles of a blue collar family just trying to make the best of their life. Then on the story-song “Self Made Man” Trilk sings from the position of guitar playing virtuoso who can “dazzle you with my hands.”
Later Trilk shows off his own dazzling hands on the instrumental solo acoustic “Rollin' with It” and perhaps even more so on the speedy “Dandelion” and then strikes a slower scale for the somber “Oh Mamma.”
Like most records steeped in the vein of country and folk Iowa Weather can’t help but sound a little bit like most of its predecessors and so like its many successors. It is obvious that Dan Trilk is a gifted guitar player but many of his songs have the same structure and deal with many of the same subjects that country singing scribes have been documenting for what seems like centuries now. Trilk is at his best when he is singing about real life, conjuring situations he’s dealt with before, such as raising a family and missing his own mother, and is less convincing when he is trying to cajole us with some tall tale that’s been told a hundred million times before. Still, despite these few folk foibles Iowa Weather is at its very center a record that has what so many other records lack; heart and soul.
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