Dirk Schwenk is an award-winning songwriter who combines singable songs with thoughtful lyrics and puts the package in the sweetest parts of the Rock, Folk and Americana genres. He fronts the southern-rock tinged The Truth and is out with a top-shelf recording “Along the Road”. The EP project was born due to the chance meeting of Schwenk and producer/guitarist Matt “All Day” Ascione. That collaboration led to fantastic session players, a wealth of knowledge and finally recording and sessions with Grammy award-winning sound engineer Bob Dawson of Bias Studios, producer of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s triple platinum album “Come On Come On” as well as Dave Matthews’ “Recently” and “Remember Two Things.”
“Along the Road” shows Dirk Schwenk sweeping all of the clichés of mass- produced Americana blends under the rug and tapping into everything that makes genuine roots based music unique and beautiful: raw emotion, deep grooves and clever storytelling.
The music is deeply rooted in singer-songwriter flavors, folk-rock songs and Americana jams which doesn’t produce anything too predictable. With that musical philosophy firmly in place, it stands to reason that each track on the EP is a gem, showcasing Schwenk’s considerable songwriting ability and a way with words that most musicians would sell at least one of their kidneys to possess.
Gluing crushing heartfelt lyrics to undeniably catchy drum riffs, greasy guitar work and soulful keyboard playing, the opening song “Table Set For Two”, covering the theme of betrayal, is four and a half minutes of damn near perfect Americana music. This is the soundtrack to the last few minutes of any relationship you’ve ever watched crumble before your eyes.
There’s nothing terribly complex or tricky about “The River”. This isn’t music to figure out. It’s music to feel to. The result is a track of astonishing musical proficiency, complete honesty and severe beauty.
A mix between a delicate folk ballad and weather-beaten country tearjerker with a conversational tone, “I Am Graced”, is an ode to growing older together with the one you love. It is a celebration of life and love without regrets for days gone past.
Dirk Schwenk’s ramshackle confidence on “Along The Road She Comes”, amazes, belying the fact that it’s his first pro solo shot. He proves right off the bat that he can find that sweet spot between honest Americana storytelling and rich folk-rock soundscapes. The song is among Schwenk’s best—neither sappy nor overly introspective.
“Flag On A Hill” was born out Schwenk’s concern for the population’s discussions on patriotism, the constitution and the USA in general. The opening lyrics lay out the overall concept of his thoughts: “There’s a flag on a hill in my hometown / Next to the statue of George Washington / And it flies for ideas that he fought for and won / ideas that still hold today.”
It’s an affecting experience; Schwenk is sweet and articulate while bearing his thoughts. This EP is an easy-going blend of melodic music and heartfelt honesty which will strike a chord with fans and critics alike. “Along the Road” reminds you just what music is all about; passion, honesty, heartache and a reassuring handful of joy behind the thoughtfulness.