Danny Click – Holding up the Sun
Until a few years ago, Danny Click was one of Austin’s best-kept secrets, a musician’s musician who’d won the respect of some of alt-country’s biggest names but hadn’t yet found widespread recognition.
The first single from his 2011 album, “Wait My Turn”, reached #1 on Nashville’s Indie World Country Chart, and the second single, “I Feel Good Today”, topped out at #14 on the NMW national Country chart alongside Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. In the San Francisco Bay Area, where Click now resides, he’s built a large and passionate fan base that includes musical greats Carlos Santana and Elvin Bishop, both of whom have joined him on stage for impromptu jams.
Click and his band The Hell Yeahs, featuring a round-robin roster of top-shelf musicians, have played more than 200 sold-out shows over the past two years, as well as opening for legends Taj Mahal, Cake, Robert Plant, Mavis Staples, Sonny Landreth and JJ Cale. Click bumped it up another notch, playing large festivals like the new Mount Tam Jam and Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland.
Fast forward to 2013. After four previous records and literally hundreds of gigs on the road, Click’s latest single, Baptize Me Over Elvis Presley’s Grave, went to #9 and stayed in the top 10 for the entire month of October, 2013. The music video is on CMT and is a viral share online.
In 2014, Danny became a regular guest at Grateful Dead legend Phil Lesh’s club, Terrapin Crossroads and released a ripping live CD, ‘Danny Click & the Hell Yeahs! “Captured LIVE!” In April 2015, Danny and band finished a brand new studio album with legendary producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, etc.) “Holding Up The Sun” is the result and it mixes a lot of country with Click’s brand of blues which is never conventional anyway.
The album starts off a bit slow on “Broken,” which still manages to draw you in either way. But it’s not where things boil like on several songs that show other sides of the Click. I do like how it sets the listener up for something not quite as straightforward as this opener. In-fact it’s somehow one of the least inspiring tracks for me. But you can instantly tell better things are on the horizon the second “When You Cry” starts and you get a real taste of country. It contains a lot of good slinky guitar and doesn’t let down one bit. The next track is the narrative story of “Eva Jane” who “lives on the outskirts of town.” This is where the album takes off and doesn’t look back, with a well-crafted song that competes with anything on the disc. Between the guitar lines and the well delivered vocals, Click can do no wrong and could benefit from 10 more of these. What a cool song, one of the best without a doubt, with all of their chops hanging out. This is what I was longing for when I pushed play, an epic songwriter’s effort that has no rough edges to it. I give this high praise. “Holding Up The Sun” succeeds at the same level as the previous track, with perhaps even better things to say, especially when the female vocals take over. This is another fantastic track that certainly earns its place in the spotlight. This is a match made in heaven and also one of the less countrified tracks, with a nice piano tough that keeps it grounded in easy listening. This would be perfect on contemporary rock or country stations. “Without You” is also another high point, and one of the more enjoyable pieces. This one bubbles along so nicely you can’t turn it off. I would hold it up to anything in the set. With all of these songs doing so well it’s safe to say this is a killer album for an assortment of audiences from blues to pop. And it just keeps getting better with tracks like “Everything’s Alright” which describes what Click is doing by this point of the album and in life in general. It’s a good natured tune with a relaxed party atmosphere about it. The mood goes all-out positive on this. The guitar solos is fabulous and all you want is more after this excellent number. It almost takes a negative turn toward the end but Click finds his way and drives you back home on this feelgood track. And that slows things back down on “What I Do” which is a deeper one altogether. This isn’t a bad tune but it spoils the mood for me and if I were choosing to drop one song it would be this. It’s where things unfortunately take a dip for me, save for a great vocal performance. No worries because that is totally rectified if you can shake it off and take on “Trouble’s Comin’” with a much easier to welcome ear. This is where country and rock completely overrule the blues and leave pretty much no sign of it. The energetic increase in the band is the first thing you notice and hope they maintain, which they do, with some sweet musical passages to top it all off. This song is one good reason to seek this CD out and check more into Danny Click. “Where Were You” takes on a steady soft rock vibe and makes up for one or two others in the same vein. Other than that it’s just another good point worth noting. If anything can be taken away it’s the talk singing. But that is left small in comparison to the great playing on it, which has a romantic touch.
That just leaves the pop laden “What’ll I Tell My Heart” which is rocking but almost pedestrian compared to the two others like it, but then they do tear it up in the mid-section. And the final track “After All” which takes on a more mature feel and proceeds to take the release out exactly the same way it came in. This is a very good album by a throwback of an artist who’s jammed with some of the most respected players in the industry.