Western & Atlantic fails to break away from mediocrity and ends as quietly as it begins.
Don Dilego – Western & Atlantic EP
In the age of bandcamp, myspace, and endless access to digital music, the wilderness for the singer/songwriter is becoming more ominous. That is to say, making a memorable album, one that survives being shuffled into an iTunes library and can endure playlists of favorite songs with the decisive next button, is becoming increasingly difficult. It is even harder if your specialty is generic alt-country. Don Dilego’s newest EP, Western & Atlantic, is the epitome of that very struggle.
Hailing from Adams, Massachusetts, Dilego is no stranger to the world twangy, lyrical story telling. In addition to his work as a solo artist, he is also responsible for the soundtrack to the 2008 feature film, Ranchero, as well as delving into the world of music production. Recorded in a Portland, Oregon, Western & Atlantic marks his return to studio recording after a long hiatus.
American rock has always been a beautiful, mangled mess of blues and country root music, a rich musical tradition that is best capture in with harmonic riff on a steel guitars, crooning vocals, and lyrics of wayward travels, late nights spent drinking away the sorrows of this life, and unrequited love. In that sense, Dilego is a mastermind, fit for the ranks of Jeffy Tweety, Ryan Adams, and Neil Young. Unfortunately, the comparison stops there. Western & Atlantic fails to break away from mediocrity and ends as quietly as it begins. There is no single track that leaves you wanting more. Nor is the album as a whole something you find yourself becoming lost in.
If making a great album was a mathematical formula, Don Dilego certainly did his homework. But it isn’t and consequently requires something beyond the generic and the formulated. Western & Atlantic is a pleasant first listen and makes for nice background music. But is missing that final zest, that unnamable aspect which would set it part in the sea of alt-country, folk rock, singer-song writers and leaves you wanting more.