2018 was a prolific year for Grant Duncan. He released two full-length albums, Alliance and Early Morning Rise, as well as an EP entitled On Solid Ground. Early Morning Rise is what a would call a warm rock album. It never feels aggressive enough to fit into the category of hard rock. Artists like Tom Petty and John Mellencamp come to mind.
Early Morning Rise isn’t the type of album that tries be something it’s not. Duncan finds a strain of American style rock and doesn't deviate very far, making for a cohesive and seamless experience. The album contains ten songs all of which doesn't waste time getting to juicy hooks and memorable melodies.
“When I'm With You” sounds about an American as apple pie. There is slightly more attitude on this song in a ZZ Top type of way. The opening riff brings up images of the open road even before he sings about the sun and rain.
“That Lasts the Longest Now” is a slightly bluesy affair with solid lead guitar. Something about “Find it Somewhere Else Tonight” felt more ’80s to me but was hard to put my finger on. It might have been the main riff which felt inspired by The Clash.
“Love Stretches Further Each Day” has a slight change in texture with acoustic guitar. The mix sounds good here with a lot of open space for the instruments to breathe. “Heavy Clouds” picks up the energy with a single worthy summer type jam while “Own True Self” felt like a highlight due to infectious vocal melody and delayed guitar.
“A Storm in Paradise” once again embraces acoustic instrumentation which makes for a serene, smooth atmosphere. “Walking Tightrope” is very lush sounding while “Never Stays that Way for Long” reminded me very much of a popular song from the ’70s. Duncan closes with a fun, garage rock inspired song with some swing called “See Her Tired Eyes.”
Duncan made an accessible rock album. The songs are well crafted and a pleasure to listen to.
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