“Details,” the opening track of Dumas’s second solo album, an uplifting and encouraging love song, jumps right out at you in a warm and welcoming manner that persists through this entire 11-song collection.
Dumas, of course, is the sort of celebrated musician from whom we’d expect nothing less. The Grammy-nominated, IBMA award-winning singer and mandolin player has served as a member of Special Consensus and other acclaimed bands.
Dumas wrote or cowrote a number of these songs. As far as the rest go, be he did fantastic job of picking material from writers like Becky Buller, Tim Stafford and Carson Chamberlain. Similarly, he’s rounded up a top-flight array of pickers to back him.
Many of these songs cut right to the heart of the matter when it comes to human emotions. “Stepping Stone” (Paula Breedlove and Becky Buller) is the tortured lament of a man who believes the woman he dearly loves just can’t let go of her memories of a past love.
“Old Soul” (Dumas and Sandy Christensen) deals with a man facing his mortality and looking longingly back through the past. “No Good Way” (Buller and Tony Rackley) is another despairing love song about a man who’s hit a desperate road block in a relationship.
Dumas’s charm is that his warm and engaging voice imbues even the saddest of these songs with a soothing sense of hope and optimism. But there’s also plenty on the upbeat side. There’s a cool, way-up-north train song called “Riding the Boston and Maine,” penned by Tim Stafford and Rick Lang. It paints vivid snapshots of childhood recollections of the iron horse that once ran through his home town.
Additionally, there’s a pair of thrilling instrumentals composed by Dumas where he and his collaborators really bring it on. “Harvest Moon” is a pull-out-the-stops, six-and-half-minute-long excursion that features some pretty amazing musicianship. The plaintive “Bozeman” also gives the pickers to put their chops on display.
Another fine track is the nostalgic “We’d Go to Town” (Daniel Salyer and Jeffrey McClennan) that has some fine harmonies and an affectionate down-home feel. It will make you long for your own old home place, even if you never had one.