Blowing in from the North Country (his 2019 album), Danny Burns and his fellow artists sweep powerfully across the musical and emotional landscape on Hurricane, riding on gale force musical winds that skitter hither and yon with propulsive sonic roars and emotional rushes. As on his previous album, he invites a number of friends to join him on the album: Aubrie Sellers, Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Sarah Jarosz, Tim O’Brien, Steve Earle, Sam Bush, and Byron House, among others.
Rapid-fire guitar notes open the way for fiddle downstrokes on the album’s first track, “Trouble,” a striding lament that builds layer by layer into a full tilt celebration of the soul-bending power of music. While the vocals mourn the persistence of the trouble that follows the singer like a black cloud, Douglas’ dobro, McLaughlin’s fiddle, and Tyminski’s and Burns’ guitars swirl around one another with tornadic force. In some ways, the song is an instrumental that gives Sellers and Burns an excuse for laying down their fiery vocals.
Josh Matheny’s haunting dobro unspools into the achingly gorgeous “Many Moons Ago.” Sarah Jarosz’s sublime harmonies shadow Burns’ lead tenor as they sing of the Trail of Tears, its enduring legacy, and the mournful memories it evokes. Steve Earle joins Burns on a skittering, scampering Cajun and mariachi version of Earle’s “Mercenary Song,” fueled by Michael Guerra’s blazing accordion and Colin Farrell’s lilting fiddle. Sam Bush’s mandolin and fiddle circle around Matt Menefee’s dobro on the tale of the ups and downs of a Nashville musician—though the song serves as a metaphor for the power of music itself to shine through any phase of life—“Golden” that features Donnie Sundal’s Bruce Hornsby-like piano trills and rolls. “Frontline,” a tale of longing and love and anticipation—and putting it all out there for love—unfolds slowly, with Burns’ vocals weaving and circling around Josh Matheny’s dobro—while the title track closes out the album with Burns and O’Brien blending their vocals in a shimmering testament to a lover’s promise to take care of his partner in the midst of stormy days and calm times.
Danny Burns is playing at the top of his game on Hurricane. It’s a powerful testimony to his songwriting and his vocal ebullience, and the album celebrates, even in the midst of songs of lament, the overwhelming solace music brings to our souls.
Hurricane is available HERE.