Nick Dittmeier and The Sawdusters “Heavy Denim”

SonaBlast, 2022

Enjoyable country-rock fused with other influences.

Album cover for Nick Dittmeier album Heavy DenimThis is the very welcome third album from Nick Dittmeier, a singer-songwriter from Southern Indiana, and his backing band, The Sawdusters. It is the best of the three, although it has no track which quite matches up to the wonderful ‘Love Me Like You Did’ from ‘All Damn Day’. Previous albums displayed a genuine country-rock influence with Dittmeier singing in an unmistakable southern accent. Although the influence is still very much here on this album, the music has developed interestingly and engagingly, making it a very enjoyable listen. At times, choppy funk guitar and funky bass-lines have been added seamlessly to the country licks in a style not unlike that of Sam Morrow. Drum machines, synth and steel guitar have been included in an understated way that works very well to enhance some tracks. Strong hooks and choruses mean that songs are consistently memorable and fresh even after repeated listens.

Lyrically, the album is more cryptic than the previous two, with the listener having to do some guesswork at times. There are hints of pain and turmoil in the confessional ‘Save Me From Myself’ and ‘Doing Wrong for All The Right Reasons’ but also in ‘Tonya Jo’. Dittmeier writes of difficulties living in a hometown in ‘Turned and Walked Away’ and ‘Free as We’d Ever Been’ and of life on the road in ‘You Don’t Know the Truth’ and ‘Hotel Pens’. There is even a mention of “cryptozoology” (the search for mythical creatures like Bigfoot and the Lochness Monster!) on ‘Things Are Getting Strange’, where he sounds slightly baffled by the modern world.

A very good album, and well worth taking the time to listen to.

8/10
8/10

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