The genesis of Dylan Sneed‘s new album Texodus came out of his relocation from Dallas, Texas to his current home base of Hartsville, South Carolina–no, I have no idea why he’d want to move there, either–and cryptically delivered lines like “”The leaving is the coming / the dusk, the dawn,” from the album’s title track don’t shed much light on the decision. One thing’s certain, however–his new home state is artistically richer for his presence.
Sneed is a mostly plain-spoken observer, the line quoted above notwithstanding, combining the occasional revelations of John Prine with the depth of emotion in John Gorka or Pierce Pettis‘ best work. He’s not afraid to have a little fun in the folk/acoustic framework, either–there’s a cover here of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (written by Robert Hazard, made famous by Cyndi Lauper).
The “New Folk” sounds of artists such as Gorka or Pettis are a good starting point for the laid-back vibes of this recording, which includes sympathetic piano, bass, and drums along with some fiddle and the haunting backing vocals of Haley Shaw.
There are lyrical gems sprinkled throughout, such as “You’re never really laughing if you never really cry,” from the upbeat “Selfish Boy” or, “Pregnant with the weight of things we will not say, the truth is like a dancing firefly,” from “Keep You Still,” and Sneed has a knack for turning even the most overdone concepts into a good song, as on the ‘I want to love you but you’re not letting me in’ song, “Climb This Wall.”
The more these songs insinuate themselves into the ears of this lifelong South Carolinian, the more I’m glad that Sneed chose to make that trek from Texas; here’s hoping the next disc celebrates him staying put.
Here’s a video from a recent show back in his native Dallas, Texas, of the song “Baby” from the new album: