Singer/songwriter Dan Smyth is a music machine. Not only does he lend his guitar and vocal skills to Fort Wayne’s The Legendary Trainhoppers, but Smyth is a veritable human jukebox covering over 50 years of pop and rock&roll music in local clubs. Seriously, the list of songs this man covers is staggering, and wholly impressive.
Besides all of that, Dan Smyth recently released his debut solo album called I Can’t Wait. Honing his music skills covering all the classics, as well as working with the Trainhoppers, has given Smyth a unique perspective and skill set as a songwriter. I Can’t Wait is an unabashed pop rock album, filled with 80s-centric synth touches and genuine singer/songwriter flair. Bits of Springsteen, Costello, and Jeff Lynne reside in the nine songs here, and every minute is a blast.
Lead single and title track “I Can’t Wait” is a blast of 80s pop radio bliss. A mix of Jeff Lynne production flavors and whimsical instrumentation choices gives the song an ageless quality. Smyth made a music video for “I Can’t Wait” that harkens back to the neon age as well, capturing the vibe of Cars and Dire Straits videos. Opening track “Would You Be Dancing” has a slinky backbeat and guitar vibes reminiscent of Adrian Belew’s late 80s output. There’s some tasteful saxophone thrown in for good measure, too. “Time Slice Tilted” goes into Oingo Boingo territory, while “Cruel Sad Day” sports some island vibes. Smyth’s influences come thru in the songs, while still retaining his own unique twist and distinct voice.
Over the course of I Can’t Wait Smyth covers all the classic pop and rock vibes while never sounding like just great cover artist writing songs in the key of familiar. Smyth’s voice is reminiscent of the greats, but a Midwest state of mind gives these songs their own down-to-earth warmth. There’s humor, great pop hooks, and a distinct musicality that comes out in the songs.
With help from Andrea Atwood, Jason Davis, Michelle Gladieux, Gordon Groat, Danny Hogan, Connor O’Shaughnessy, Ed Renz, Casey Stansifer, and production sheen courtesy of Off The Cuff Sound, Dan Smyth’s I Can’t Wait will be your new favorite fall listen.
7.5 out of 10