New Country: Dave Insley — ‘Just The Way That I Am’

Dave Insley — ‘Just The Way That I Am’
Label: DIR Records

Take Buck Owens, Sons of the Pioneers, very early Willie Nelson and maybe a little Buddy Holly and mix them together and give it an authentic “Country and Western” instrumentation and arrangement, and you’ll have just the beginning of an idea of the unique and entertaining figure that is Austin, Texas based singer/songwriter Dave Insley.

It’s not just the sound that is ‘retro,’ in the best sense of the word. It’s the entire effect that Dave Insley creates, from material, to approach, to the emotions that result. His new album, ‘Just The Way That I Am,’ makes it clear that what you hear is what you get. His vocals command attention and comfort at the same time.

Along with fellow musicians Rick Shea (guitar), Redd Volkaert (guitar), Danny B. Harvey (guitar), Matt Hubbard (piano, harmonica, trombone), Beth Chrisman (fiddle), Bobby Snell (guitar), Daniel Jones (drums), Jimmy Shortell (trumpet), Joey Collarusso (saxophone), Charlie Irwin (bass), and guest vocalists Kelly Willis, Elizabeth McQueen, Dale Watson, and Billie Brent Malkus, Dave Insley combines honky-tonk country, balladeer story-songs, and a bit of old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. He does it all and he does it effortlessly.

In the song “Footprints in the Snow,” Insley sings “The future’s just a memory that we choose” and it makes me think that he must know exactly what he’s doing. What’s he doing, you ask? He’s singlehandedly filling a growing country music vacuum with straightforward songs full of ideas that matter, and that are blissfully unhampered with superficial concerns and anxieties. These are songs you’ll find yourself singing along to and feeling good while you do. In short, country music needs Dave Insley and the songs he sings.

When you are listening to the CD, take a moment to open the CD case and the CD booklet and enjoy the photography by Jim Herrington. They perfectly fit (and further extend) the atmosphere that Insley’s music creates. Kinda makes me wish I had a Dave Insley lunchbox to help face the world on a daily basis.

Essential Downloads: “I Don’t Know How This Story Ends,” “Please Believe Me.”


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