At the beginning of 2015 Dale Sechrest was asked by a friend to give a concert. Although it had been sixteen years since his last music event, Dale accepted the invitation. Within four short weeks he was in communication with Gold Record Producer, Michael Clark (Johnny Lang, John Mellencamp, Eddie Money, Larry Gatlin, and more), who heard Dale’s music and was anxious to start producing.
Dale’s previous CD, ‘Speed of Light’, which included Jim Ryser on the title track, was recorded and released in 1997 and played on full rotation on stations across the Midwest. The collaboration between Producer Michael Clark and the artist Dale Sechrest resulted in the recording of the album, ‘The Journey’, which features keyboardist, Troye Kinnett, (Mellencamp), drummer, Chris Pyle and Bassist, Steve Dokken, (Sandi Patty).
A solid, unpretentious musician with cleanly crafted performances, Dale’s music on this album is honest and gritty at the base. Dale has a number of modes his songs follow, so there are similar types of songs, but a lot of variety, both in sound and mood.
He’s a great song writer and must surely love his work, as this collection adds another pile of excellent songs to his catalog. I know nothing is more subjective than music and art, but to me, ‘The Journey’ finds Dale Sechrest in top form. Every song has a stroke of understated genius, and the acoustically driven Americana grooves and playing are comfortable and authentic throughout.
You won’t find obsessive histrionics anywhere on these tracks, quite simply because Dale Sechrest’s talents are set to serve the song, not the artist himself or his ego. And if that sounds like a subtle dividing line, it is not – It is that massively gaping crevasse that separates a performer from being a true artist.
From the moment you press play on the opening track, “It’s All About Love”, Dale’s musical persona impacts you. There is a sense of urgency, and uplifting joy, and it’s not just in the lyrics, it’s in the voice, which dances and soars. Dale clearly believes it, when he intonates the phrase – “It’s all about love…”, and you’ll believe it too.
But it’s on songs like the slow burning “Life is Changes (Song to Andrew)”, that Dale makes a binding impression. His vocal delivery is breathlessly eloquent, the lyrics poignantly and passionately sung. In a word –sublime!
And luckily for me he continues in a similar vein on the subsequent track entitled “Harry and Sandy”, making it all but clear to me, in the space of 2 songs that the man revels in the warmth of introspective ballads. It’s where his heart and voice is allowed to capture every single emotional nuance, above the bare boned instrumentals.
Often Dale’s tone is much more conversational, personal, and the music is more intimate, yet urgent – as can be heard on the title track “The Journey”. He stretches and lifts some of his phrasing and pulls off more levels of depth in these lyrics than I expected he would. In short Dale does not simply sing his songs – he interprets them in every facet. This is storytelling the way only the best breed of singer-songwriters are capable of doing.
This high standard of songwriting and interpretation continues throughout the remainder of the album, as Dale Sechrest fleshes out themes that are occupied with the primary and essential things in life. He doesn’t broadly look at the jigsaw puzzle, instead he picks out little pieces and scrutinizes how and why each piece does or doesn’t fit the big picture.
Michael Clark’s elegant production allows these songs to breathe freely, and Dale’s voice to deservedly stand out front and center. Close-up and personal, “The Journey” is a truly fulfilling listening experience.