Currently nominated for an ACM for “Vocal Duo of the Year,” Dan + Shay’s debut album, Where It All Began, will be released on Warner Brothers Records on April 1st. The duo, comprised of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, were the only country artists named to CNN’s “Fresh Faces” and Billboard’s “2014 Artists to Watch.”
Called one of the “acts that will help define 2014” by Billboard, the duo wrote the entire 12-track album, while it was produced by Smyers and co-produced by Scott Hendricks and Nashville songwriter, Danny Orton.
Where It All Began, which includes their hit “19 You + Me”, is full of mid-tempo pop country songs about relationships and love that are highlighted by the duo’s harmonies. The songs flow together nicely, but at times tend to sound alike, both sonically and lyrically.
In the opening track, "Show You Off," they are proud of their girl and want to take her out on the town, while “Party Girl” favors staying inside and having a party of two.
In the Cole Swindell/FGL-esque “What You Do To Me,” we learn how a girl has his “head spinning around,” while in “Can’t Say No,” with its folk/pop lean (reminding one of something Hunter Hayes might sing), they tell why they can’t say no to whatever a girl may ask.
In “Nothin’ Like You,” they sing of the qualities that make a specific girl attractive; from twirling her hair to dancing to “rockin’ that rock n’ roll t-shirt.”
“First Time Feeling” is a nostalgic look at young love and that first time “wrapped up there in a blanket/nervous kids hands are shaking /yeah we knew what we were getting into /there was magic underneath that moon.”
The triad of “Stop Drop + Roll,” “Somewhere Only We Know,” and “Parking Brake” thematically are very similar. The first is about getting in his ‘65 Mustang, putting the top down and rolling down the open road. The second mixes spoken word/rap verses with a sung chorus about driving out to that place where you can “let yourself let go.” And the third song has a couple driving somewhere to park and getting to know one another.
The demise of a relationship is the subject of the piano ballad, and personal favorite, “I Heard Goodbye.” The catchy, banjo backed “Close Your Eyes” about staying inside, being together and ignoring the world, closes the album.
While it didn't do much for me, many current country radio music fans will find Where It All Began an easy to listen to album.