Philadelphia-raised Dave Hause releases ‘Blood Harmony‘, a very fine album from a great American song/songwriter.
‘Blood Harmony‘, is Hause’s fifth album, and he’s pulled out all the stops to assemble some top-level Nashville players to bring a glistening polish to some great songs. The album is produced by highly regarded Nashville singer/songwriter and progressive, Will Hoge. Hoge can take some of the credit for helping pull together the session talent that makes such an across-the-board huge contribution to the album. Much as Hoge’s contribution can’t be understated, Dave Hause’s main contributor continues to be his younger brother, Tim Hause.
Dave and Tim have been working together while writing remotely since 2017, and the ten songs on the album were written between the two brothers over a series of weekly Zoom sessions. During the writing process – and few months before the release of his 2019 album, ‘Kick‘ – Dave became father to twins, and this major life event has had a significant impact on this album. The whole album has a strong theme of family and relationships, home, and a sense of place, running through it. The high spots on ‘Blood Harmony‘ are where Hause reflects on the challenges of family life, and the happiness his immediate family, extended family, and friends have brought to him over these tough times.
The album opens with ‘North Star’, one of those family-focused songs, and also one of the more stripped-down arrangements on the album. It’s a deceptively simple and direct song, starting with just Dave and his acoustic guitar, before he’s joined by Tim’s perfectly-judged vocal harmonies. Some low-key tremolo guitar brings some nice ambience to the whole sound, and this track – like the rest of the album – has some lovely understated adornments running through it. On all the tracks, producer Hoge has done outstanding work, always keeping things interesting but never allowing the arrangements and instrumentation to distract from the song. Other stand-out tracks include the joyous ‘Sandy Sheets‘, the wry humour of ‘Surfboard‘, and the anthemic, ‘Gary‘, with its insistent refrain taking on different meanings with every listen. “Hurt people, hurt people, I hope you don’t hurt anymore.”
Even on his most introspective songs, there always seems to be a gentle warmth and optimism in Hause’s voice. Maybe it’s just the sound of a man not losing sight of the important things in life, as he considers the struggle and the cost of chasing dreams in a tough old world. These are beautifully crafted songs that are sung, played and produced as well as anything you’re going to hear in the world of Americana and roots-rock this year.