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Dusty Highway by Singer/Songwriter David Gelman

In a gentle caress, a melody ushers us into the glow of “Time on My Hands,” its keys intimately introducing us to the instrumental framework of what will become one of the more memorable tracks on Dusty Highway, the latest release from indie singer/songwriter David Gelman.  

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/gelmanmusic/  

This song features a brittle but breathtaking vocal harmony framed by what eventually becomes a churning, albeit pendulous drumbeat, but like its stylistic counterpart in the rollicking “Maybe Tomorrow,” the mechanics of its melodies aren’t nearly as enticing as the actual poetic value behind every verse Gelman sings to us. His voice is a surprising force to be reckoned with in “High Road” and arguably more surreal than we’ve ever heard it before in “Fight My Way,” but no matter which song we find it in here, this vocal is always at the eye of every sonic storm Dusty Highway has to behold. You don’t have to be a big fan of eclectic folk-rock to appreciate the substance in this record, but for those who regard themselves as connoisseurs of the genre, David Gelman’s 2023 indie smash should be considered required listening at the moment.

“Let it Shine” and “Stuck on Broadway” don’t waste a stitch of time in washing us with textured harmonies that aren’t necessarily as big as they are robust in tone, but while they’re composed around entirely different themes than, say, the title track is, they don’t make for odd bedfellows in this tracklist at all. Although Gelman can’t be accused of adhering to one aesthetical school of thought over another in Dusty Highway, there’s an element of consistency to all of the content here that allows us to feel like we’re listening to one epic collection of songs as opposed to a hodgepodge of experimental tunes that have but one factor in common – the man performing them for us. This album often sounds more like a contemporary folk-rock opera than it does anything else, but with that said, I would point out that the typical bombast that accompanies most conceptual affairs is completely absent from the music on this LP.

Whether led forth by a lustrous beat in “Lay Me Down,” compressed between the muted ridges of an implied rhythm in “No Peace of Mind,” presented as a half-whisper and nestled against the backdrop of atmospheric instrumentation in “Dusty Highway (Instrumental String Quartet)” or amplified via a chill-inducing reverberation in “Once a Part of Me,” the play of David Gelman is almost guaranteed to shake you to your very core when listening to Dusty Highway this summer, and while it’s not the only indie heart-stopper worth writing home about right now, it’s got enough of a kick to unquestionably elevate its creator in the hierarchy of modern singer/songwriters.  

Gelman doesn’t back down from any challenge set before him in Dusty Highway; no matter how daunting the task, he runs head-first into the flames here and forges an album that I think his fans are going to be talking about for some time to come.  

Mindy McCall  



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