David Quinn | Letting Go | (Independent)
3.5 out of 5 stars
David Quinn is a ramblin’ man. “It’s like what they say about some sharks: if they’re not moving, they die,” he remarks. The Indiana musician demonstrated such aching need to always be on the move with his 2019 studio debut, Wanderin’ Fool ─ and it seems not much has changed. His second record, Letting Go, falls quite in line with its predecessor, a musical companion piece drenched in his wood-smoked vocal and hearty blend of folk-rock and stone cold country.
It’s a funny thing: 11 new songs don’t arise as some enlightened artistic evolution. Quinn appears the same across both records, yet he hypnotizes you just the same. With Letting Go, inspired by numerous winding road trips through the Midwestern countryside, he loads up on emotional awakening. “Lord, let me die with my boots on / Singing them old time songs,” he scoots across the hay-strewn dance floor on one of the album’s pinnacles.
His adherence to classic structures both constricts and permits him to discover fuller flavors of his voice. Quinn shines brightest when he’s searching for peace in his life, from severing bad things and people (“Letting Go”) and acceptance of his tumble-weed ways (the organ-tinted “Horses”) to depicting an ongoing battle with depression (“Born to Lose”). All the while, arrows are carved into the earth, pointing to the outstanding “Maybe I’ll Move Out to California,” a full-circle moment as its lyrics tie directly back into album opener (“Intro”). Such a profound bookend underscores Quinn at his most affecting, a demonstration of his commitment to analyzing the human spirit and the collective ongoing struggle to be heard and seen.
“Maybe I’ll go back up to Denver, just to see what I find,” he broods, uncertain about his place in the world. “Have some fun living on the run / Well, in the back of my mind / Then, I’ll try to settle on down, and make me a home.”
Letting Go ─ boasting an impressive lineup of musicians, including Jamie Davis, Dillon Napier, and Micah Hulscher ─ embodies the best of David Quinn. It might not be noticeably game-changing, but it continues cementing his role as among today’s finest, most reliable Americana storytellers.
Photo by Alec Basse