Dan Hazlett's fifth solo effort centers around the issue of family. The CD artwork features pictures from Hazlett's family history, and many of the songs are strongly tied to family issues, especially "Stay at Home Daddy" and the title track, "Family Album." The acoustic guitar and Hazlett's controlled swoons serve as the main ingredients to his music, with other musicians on backup vocals, drums, and bass. On the first track, "My Rainy Days," he lays the framework for the album, reminiscing about his personal and family history in the line, "I'm sorting through that family memorabilia/Finding treasure, bandaging the hurt." On the third track, "Boys Playing With Barbies," Hazlett focuses on the theme of children playing. The song succeeds as a humorous and whimsical look at children who don't fit into sociological norms. The songs are nothing if not good-natured. Even the soul-searching songs like "Close Enough to Touch" and "The Middle of My Life" focus on the positive. On the title track, "Family Album," Hazlett serves as narrator, narrating a look through his family album, creating a picture for the listener. The narration brings to mind the history of a family, presumably the Hazlett family, from generation to generation. The title song may be the most introspective song on the disc, as well as the most softly sung. It is followed by one of the most lighthearted songs of the bunch, "Everything and a Kite." In it, Hazlett sings to his daughter, asking her what she wants for her birthday. The final song seems to be another song for his daughter, entitled "I've Got Hopes for You." As a family man, he understands the necessity of younger family members extending the family line. Family Album serves as a powerful modern folk album displaying the power of simple songs.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer
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