Mixed and Mastered in Nashville, TN which probably also explains the slight country vibe to the whole single, singer/songwriter Dan Rodriguez is back with his new single “Passengers” from his upcoming EP of the same name. Self-described as a “whiskey and beer drinking, fishing and hunting loving, motorcycle riding, quality food eating, hippie sympathizing, people loving husband and father” I’ll be honest, after listening to even just this single track, yeah I’m hard-pressed to disagree with him. In a lot of ways, Rodriguez feels like that friend you don’t see all the time, but when you do, the man just has stories for days and can turn a little into a lot with captivating and enjoyable riffs on basic ideas and imagery.
With Passengers which acts as a vehicle for Rodriguez to look back at his life and the uncertainty and seemingly dark elements that got him to a more stable place, it kind of has that Outkast “Hey Ya” effect where it can kind of feel like a sad or depressing song when you listen to it, but its packaged in such a jaunty upbeat track complete with some fantastic guitar and bass from Rodriguez himself who also produced the track in Minneapolis, MN. Joining him drummer Alexander Young, Pianist Andre Rodriguez and background vocals from Megan Rodriguez and it’s either a funny coincidence or the people in Rodriguez’s family are all just musical geniuses.
The song also captures this kind of breeziness like an afternoon drive before taking you on the highway at 75 miles per hour thanks to the perfectly timed dip in the opening that lets us breathe and get acclimated before Rodriguez really throws us a curveball for the listener. On his last release, the EP 25 Years which was decidedly more pop-influenced thanks to producer John Fields whos worked with heavy hitters like Pink, Miley Cyrus, and Demi Lavato, Rodriguez takes what I assume he learned during those sessions, but instead of a pop-heavy song, it’s more country-pop if you wanna get into the nitty-gritty on antiquated genre discussions. A good song is a good song and this is a great song.
The way Rodriguez can alternate in highs and lows, not just including his voice, but also with the up and down roller coaster-like song structure. There’s an acoustic version as well and while I think it’s fine and those looking for a more mellow version of the ideas this song has will probably enjoy it, there’s just something that feels more, for lack of a better term, full in this version. I wish Rodriguez had gone a little more in-depth with some more explicit feelings as sometimes using imagery we know leads to a little bit of stiffness, less on the part of Rodriguez, but because we’re inundated with songs with similar material and Rodriguez is so good I just want him to stand out more and more with each release. Rodriguez has taken us on a thrilling ride and let’s see where he goes next.
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