Review: Dave Hause Shares Hope in Happenstance

Dave Hause/Drive It Like It’s Stolen,/Blood Harmony Records
Four Out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Any album that teams two veteran singer/songwriters Dave Hause and Will Hoge is bound to make for an auspicious entry. It’s hardly surprising then that Drive It Like It’s Stolen boasts such memorable music, thanks to Hause’s remarkable songs and set-ups and the fact that Hoge is sitting behind the boards. 

Then again, Hause has always found inspiration in his own introspection, whether it was his divorce from his first wife, a topic that informed his album, Devour, in 2013, concerns over the state of the world, America, and his own fragile emotions as shared with Kick (2019), or his joy at being able to spend time with his twins, a primary theme for the more recent offering, Blood Harmony

His anxiety again takes center stage this time around, with a series of songs that find Hause grappling with his sobriety, the responsibilities of fatherhood, and the everyday challenges that come with trying to find one’s way in the world. Hause himself refers to the current effort as “post-apocalyptic Americana,” and as such, it’s flush with ominous overtures, sobering sentiment, and an overarched perspective that ensures total immersion in the effort overall. That’s immediately apparent on songs such as “Chainsaweyes,” “Cheap Seats” and “Pedal Down,”  all memorable and moving reflections on what it takes to grasp humanity. Not that the entire album is tempered by a low luster— “Hazard Lights,” “The Vulture” and “Damn Personal” come across with an anthemic surge that might find a welcome fit in a setlist by Springsteen or Mellencamp. 

In fact, there’s not a single track here that doesn’t ring with a certain resilience or resolve. The title track sums the sentiment up best: 

Tumbling down off of the beam
Hide at home or make a scene

Trying to put the “I” inseam
Same old tired rhyming schemes
Try as I might I can’t get off the balance right…

Memorable, moving, and flush with insight and emotion, Drive It Like It’s Stolen is the kind of album that not only makes an instant impression but one that also lingers long after the final notes fade away. Its sentiment is expressed best in the song “Tarnish” in particular. When you find tarnish on the relics from past lives, I hope it doesn’t pull the glimmer out of your eyes…

For all that sense of foreboding, the glimmer — and more — remains. Thanks to Hause for helping us realize there is hope on the horizon… if only we’re willing to seek it out.

Photo by Jesse DeFlorio / Clarion Call Media

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