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Critics' Choice
DAN WILSON DRAWS US IN
8/4/17

By Simon Glickman

Dan Wilson’s Re-Covered (Ballroom/Big Deal) revisits 13 tunes the widely adored tunesmith/artist wrote or co-wrote with or for Adele, Taylor Swift, Chris Stapleton, The Dixie Chicks, John Legend and others; in addition to Wilson’s own nuanced, emotionally rich readings of the songs, the set includes his charming illustrations and enlightening commentary, bound in a handsome hardcover book.

All the versions on this lovely album, co-produced by Wilson and Mike Viola, demonstrate the warmth and beauty of his impulses as a melodist and lyricist. For my money, the standout is his take on “Someone Like You,” with expressively tasteful accompaniment by The Kronos Quartet (arranged by Wilson’s erstwhile Semisonic bandmate Jacob Slichter). But his renderings of the Stapleton gem "When the Stars Come Out" and Semisonic's "Closing Time" are also stunners. Check out the video below, which also showcases Dan’s calligraphic prowess.

 

The guy’s abundance of talent can be a tad annoying to us mere mortals—he writes giant hits like “Someone Like You,” “Not Ready to Make Nice” and “Closing Time,” sings like an angel, plays guitar like a demon and, we now discover, is a cartoonist whose work could easily run in The New Yorker. But Dan’s such a mensch it’s hard to hold it against him. 

What's more, the project is coming out via Kenny MacPherson's Big Deal Music, so there's more than one mensch involved.