David Nelson Band
Visions Under the Moon
First Appeared at The Music Box, May 1999, Volume 6, #5
Written by John Metzger
The David Nelson Band's experiment was a resounding success. Last year, the group, along with acclaimed record producer Aaron Hurwitz, settled into the Aladdin Theatre in Portland, Oregon for a week-long series of recording sessions. The idea was to capture the magic and energy of the ensemble's live performances and polish these recordings with a variety of overdubs and quality studio production. This certainly could not have been an easy task, but the result is the exquisite Visions Under the Moon, DNB's first full-length studio effort.
Over the years, the members of DNB have had close associations with various members of the Grateful Dead, and these collaborations have clearly influenced DNB's sound. In addition, the group draws from many of the same influences as the Grateful Dead once did, blending old American folk and bluegrass music with a propensity for lengthy, mind-boggling musical explorations. Consequently, unlike many of its counterparts in the jam-band genre, DNB knows the importance of striking a balance between quality songs and lengthy interludes, and that's exactly what it accomplishes on Visions Under the Moon. Indeed, much of the music contained on its new album has been relentlessly road-tested over the past few years. In addition, the collective rapidly has evolved and refined both its songs and its sound. Even as it embarks upon its surrealistic musical journeys, there's a certain tightness in its playing that can only come from musicians who have gained the experience of regularly performing together and have learned how to truly listen to one another. Each member of the David Nelson Band seems to know exactly where everyone else will go with a song, and they consequently have an unspoken dialogue that is absolutely remarkable.
From the driving rhythm of Fable of a Chosen One to the dark and haunting Visions Under the Moon, DNB captures moods and feelings like few other group can. In addition, on songs like Kerouac and No Souvenirs, the band uses its lyrics and music to paint vivid and timeless portraits that are ultimately American. The result is a picture-perfect album by the best jam band touring the country today.
Visions Under the Moon is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box