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Music
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Your Side Now

(Ready. Set.; US: 2 Feb 2010; UK: Import)

Trent Dabbs specializes in darkly romantic songs that mix hypnotic, New Romantic-syle balladry and modern dream pop, incorporating plush layers of guitars, keyboards, and reverb. That recipe might not help Dabbs stand out if his melodies didn’t get under you skin as much as they do. Working out of Nashville (via Mississippi), Dabbs caught the ear of country siren Ashley Monroe, who cowrote and provided backing vocals on Your Side Now.  It’s an album of emotional, languid ballads full of wistful lyrics and sweeping melodies, the kind of songs that never go out of style—the exception is the opener “Wake Up Call”, which is more Broadway than the rest of the record. Best tune: “Nothing Left to Leave”—quite lovely. Curiously, the album contains just eight tunes, as if Dabbs has calculated that, since people don’t really buy albums anymore, he’s given TV producers plenty to choose from for the cathartic last five minutes of that special episode. The songs here are good enough to transcend such cynicism, but, hey, a songwriter’s gotta eat.

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Steve Leftridge has written about music, film, and books for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, No Depression, and PlaybackSTL. He holds an MA in literature from the University of Missouri, for whom he is an adjunct teacher, and he's been teaching high school English and film in St. Louis since 1998. Follow at SteveLeftridge@Twitter.com.


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10 Dec 2013
Dabbs strikes at the same staid, steady musical vein that he's been mining for several years now.
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