Dan +Shay

Dan +Shay – 2018 (Warner Nashville)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

The track list on Dan +Shay’s self-titled third album has a song crediting Kelly Clarkson as a featured vocalist.  Upon a full listen, you will think they forgot about a few others. The disc features the duo’s contemporary sound that mirrors many artists in the genre. The lead off track “Alone Together” evokes Rascal Flatts’ Gary LeVox and is half of the only seven minutes on the tidy 35-minute collection that represent anything near up-tempo. The duo puts the ballads on cruise control on tracks 2-11 starting with the lead single, “Tequila,” a song about the power of alcohol to evoke memories with its mournful piano intro that sounds exactly like Martina McBride’s “Anyway.” “Keeping Score,” the duet with Kelly Clarkson shows Shay Mooney holding his own with the inaugural American Idol winner, if only because it’s a softer number than Clarkson’s high-octane collaboration “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Jason Aldean. The remainder of the disc bounces along happily with catchy melodies before closing with the Caribbean themed “Island Time.”

The duo has proven themselves to be perfectly capable of writing songs about love, precious time and matters of the heart. They do just that here. But It is ultimately is a safe play where no risks were taken. The whitewashed material would be ably handled in many other contemporary artists’ hands without the feeling that they put their stamp on it. The CD cover features a plain white background and is a good barometer of what is contained inside.