Claiming that this, his first full-length CD, is nothing more than a collection of demos, L.A./Bakersfield maven Dan Janisch displays the kind of vocal style and songwriting ability that made Merle Haggard such a legend all the way across the musical board. As sensitive as he is able to shuffle and twang, Janisch proves himself on such potential classics as "If You Say You Love Me," "Foolish Tears," and his bluegrass number, "Meet Me in the Valley Below." "Nothing New" is another outstanding track. With 11 cuts, three of which were cut at Dusty Wakeman's Mad Dog Studios in Burbank with Wakeman on bass, this is one of the most charming releases of 1998 from the honky tonk crowd in that strange town south of Bakersfield. Also adding punch to the performance here is in-demand L.A. drummer Dave Drewry, long-time Janisch band member Mike Baker and Mike Wilcox on electric guitar. Janisch, whose artistic development has been difficult, since he has an affinity for the folkier side of country music, has come into his own as a honky tonk performer with not only something say, but also a lot of class and honesty. He is a fine tribute to those who came before him, and this CD is a delightful introduction to one of the West Coast's most promising performers.
by Jana Pendragon