Three years ago, Dan Tuffy dropped his debut album, Songs From Dan. He’s back with his sophomore effort, Letters of Gold, an eight-track collection of delightful alternative songs.
Letters of Gold encompasses a larger sonic palette than Songs From Dan, which delivered aromas teeming with country noir, whereas the new album includes heavier coloration, electronic elements, and more potent percussion.
This reformed sound stems from producer Zlaya Loud, who, along with Michael Turner (keys, guitars, midi-programming, electronics, percussion), integrates an unprocessed, visceral quality on the album. The end is plush and genuine music.
Commenting on the album’s sound, Dan says, “What’s vital to me about this album is our success at welding electronic and organic sounds together in a way that supports the songs/themes you hear. I’m very happy about the sonic world we have created and how it pushes the boundaries of the roots/songwriter genre. It was an intuitive process that emerged out of the energy captured in the live takes at the core of each performance. Everyone who worked on the album “got it” by feeling into it and this is why the record sounds so cool, why it speaks to you and why I’m so proud of it. It connects and it travels, and the journey is layered and moving, in every sense of the word.”
Formerly from Australia, Dan has lived in the Netherlands since 1993. After taking his degree in Ecology from the University of Tasmania, he set off on his adventures in music, founding a group called Wild Pumpkins at Midnight, followed by the trio Big Low and, later, Netherlands’ world music outfit, Parne Gadje.
The album opens with “Can’t Contain My Feeling,” a song reminiscent of J.J. Cale, low-slung, sensuous in a deep oblique way, and alluringly appealing. Dan’s voice delivers tantalizing wisps of coloration atop a stripped-down rhythm. I love the raw blistering quality of the guitar solo on this track.
Entry points include “Eternity,” which conjures up echoes of Bob Dylan, exuding a trickling wash of indie-folk textures. “Time Stole My Angels” recalls an Eagles’ alt-country tune, rife with suffusing gentle colors and tender vocals.
“Sandy Track” rides an alt-country melody dripping with bluesy flavors, infusing the tune with a magnetically bewitching mood and texture. “No Sleep Until the Work Is Done” brims with swampy odors and features the distant luscious wail of a drawling harmonica.
“Home Fires,” arguably one of the album’s highlights, dishes out fat, round savors, slow and meandering, enveloping listeners in glowing accents, akin to drifting on a river of suspended surfaces.
Letters of Gold is not only sumptuous and subtle but resonant and seething with cool flavors, all transported on Dan Tuffy’s evocative voice.