What made us fall in love with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Bon Jovi is the practicality of their music – music that resonates with REAL people – music that is not just about a movie, a movement, or a moment, but everyday life – the ups and downs, the paying of bills, the rent being due, and the lover that got away. This is what Dean Maywood does with his music, he honestly tells his story and places the mirror in front of us to see our own reflections in the music.
His self-titled album contains five songs that illustrate the above statement and harkens sentimentality and that heart-on-the-sleeve emotion we all adore. And these floating stories, which we title as Folk Music, are sewn together with some Country, and tightened with Alternative Rock.
We start with “Jane,” a descriptive song about an ambitious love affair that is sure to end but lingers, the lyrics sing, “darling it’s late, and I don’t want to leave without you, darling it’s late, and I don’t want to leave without you, I said it’s late, but I ain’t going to leave without you.” The minimalistic production with the inclusion of only guitars makes the song play like those 1960’s folk songs that seductively hypnotize its listeners. It's infectious as it just keeps a beat and rhythmically keeps you focused.
“Knowing & Lying” is a classic Folk track with some Heartland Rock elements. It describes the reality of life and how sometimes, the only concepts that helps us to make decisions are often “KNOWING” and “LYING.” The lyrics show how things can be quite blurred and heroes seem to be less and less. The harmonica gives this track an honest outlook. Maywood chose to pullback his vocals some on this track to illustrate passion – this is coupled with haunting backing vocals repeating the hook. The guitar solos on this track is nothing short of stunning and conversational in their own right!
Maywood’s vocals are beautiful on his third track – he shows such desire in his delivery with pleasant trills and patient push offs. “Louisiana” is that metaphorical track where its meaning could be about the turbulent past of the city of Louisiana in the USA and how it is slowly rising back to its power like a phoenix, or about the artist himself and how he and the city of Louisiana both are fighting to recover and live on with wounds being addressed by love and life. Maywood sings, “Louisiana, we both seen our share of hurricanes.” The echo on the leads give off that dancehall singing effect. And, the heartbeat effect at the ending is classic! A beautiful ballad.
The picturesque “The Silver Dollar” lyrically takes you to that familiar place in your neighborhood that served as the hangout spot, or comfort spot, that rescued so many from making mistakes. The way Maywood composed this song showcases his writing talent, because lyrically you are transferred to THAT place in your history that was a rendition of “The Silver Dollar.”
“Lay You Down” closes the album and is a wonderful reminder that REAL love does exist. The soothing duality between Maywood and the female backing vocalist is magic! The storyline is about how when things get rough, there is someone to smooth out the edges and make it okay. The way that Maywood utilizes that whisper and loud technique to his leads makes it personal. Moreover, that powerful piano supports the driving presence of Maywood’s vocal execution reflecting that immediacy of a hero-in-waiting feeling.
It is amazing how universally we all share the same stories. Maywood is composing and performing from Irish roots, and yet globally we can relate – this album is like the thread that holds together the metaphorical carpet of cultures.
What is stunning about Maywood is how he conceptually blends the styles of artists that came before him and intrinsically places his mood, tastes, and style into the mix. It is not mimicry; it is an homage and an upgrade. In addition, his guitar prowess is not a separate entity when it comes to the music; no, it is a part of the story – it settles when needed, and it drifts when needed. The incorporation of banjos, harmonicas, and slight FX makes for easy listening.
So, you are not going to find the club mixes on this album, but do not get it twisted, there is plenty of music for movement on this collection. Let’s say that this collection is the liquor that you bring TO the party – the drinks that make the moments and sets the stage for the rest of the night and life.
The result of this collection is top-quality music that has staying power – this is authentically and honestly Dean Maywood.
“Dean Maywood” is available on all streaming platforms.