Nick Dakota – Vision
Handsome, charismatic, and talented; Nick Dakota is not your average guitar player who can sing. Playing in bands since he was 16, Nick Dakota was born to do just this. Discovered by the famous producer, Robyn Robins (of Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band) Robins believes highly in the talents of Nick and the future of his music career. So much so that he has produced this debut album with top notch heavy hitters out of Nashville. “We feel Nick has great potential. The songs, vocal delivery, and overall production are great,” quotes Robins. “Vision” embodies the best of Country music and top quality production. Each track flows into the next creating a mood and experience honoring its title. Lee Hendricks (Eric Church’s bass player), Steve Hinson (steel guitar for Randy Travis) and Troy Lancaster (Tim McGraw’s guitar player) are just a few of the talent tsunami that bring “Vision” to life.
In covering a couple of country artists recently, this one is country rock, so it is different that way. I say that because in most parts, Nick Dakota either pulls off his rock or his country side but seems to avoid mixture aspects as much as possible on this release. He plays a Fender Telecaster very well, and employs some great players to help out, but he neither looks the part nor defines country rock. What he does do is plays and sings one or the other with everything it takes and is a very good musician who might benefit from playing one genre or the other but not both, as he moves forward. But getting right down to the songs that can all be defied, as well, because there is no doubt he is not the average country rocker. You don’t hear any of the influences mentioned in his bio until mid-way through or so, but that gives a chance to establish some originality straight out of the gate. Kicking off with “Fall All Over Again,” isn’t the best move but it gets the ball rolling. This carries a cracking drum beat and all of the good clichés, but also has that middle of the road class to it. But it is well-contrasted by the following track “Heart On Fire,” which makes up for anything the former lacks. And it gets better from there and a good overall effort is made to produce a quality album is clearly the consensus. “How Cool Is That” shows an easy listening school quality that won’t quit, which crosses pop barriers as well as blending the obvious genre’s together. “How Much I Love You” isn’t too bad at all for a contemporary country rock tune. And “One Last Request” follows the same pattern. But things really pick on “Rain Down Sunshine,” with its cerebral dance pace. “Past You and Me” is the token ballad which falls more into the Americana category. Nick Dakota plays some great country guitar but also has inflections here and there of heavy riff-oriented rock too. It’s in there if you listen closely enough, and that is the part where he doesn’t seem to land on his feet too well, but nevertheless doesn’t fail either. “Sledgehammer” is the magnum opus to be heard on both counts, but you somehow want to hear an all-out rock and roller or a straight-forward country classic after just one listen, as good as the track is. I still give this CD high marks.
There is no question about the talent after hearing that, it just depends on where you stand concerning country rock, or country and rock. The songwriting is never hurt by this, as it cuts through regardless. “The Deep End” has some banjo and some more sweet guitar and a lot of sass. This is kept up on “Too” which has some good energy left to be heard. And the CD ends with “Used,” which is another middle of the road rock piece. If anything I am trying to say that this is as good a rock album as it is a country one, but perhaps not as strong to be classified as country rock. Whichever way Dakota continues to lean is yet to be seen, because this CD begs for an answer to that. Scott Prinzing