Sweetheart Radio Revolution, Etc.
Nashville-based singer/songwriter Don Gallardo sounds like a fish out of water, or at least swimming in the wrong pond. Amidst the bubblegum cowboy machine that once housed the greatness of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., and Kris Kristofferson is a sensitive, hopeful voice whose creative peers are located either east or west of his residence. Gallardo is originally from California, and it shows in the choirboy warmth of his singing and the personal touch of his lyrics. Indeed, Gallardo is as far from the Nashville cookie-cutter factory as it gets. The first track, “Sittin’ on Top of the World,” aims for the arena-sized, chiming riffs of U2 and Coldplay with Gallardo’s vocals echoing the raspy swagger of Oasis’s Liam Gallagher. If Gallardo was on a major label, there’d be no doubt that “Sittin’ on Top of the World” would be sharing airspace with the likes of John Mayer and the Dave Matthews Band on commercial Triple A radio stations right now. However, no matter how big the sound gets, Gallardo’s performance remains intimate and low-key; he displays impressive restraint when a lesser artist would’ve choked on bombast.
“Today” is closer to the roots-rock ideal that Nashville once proudly showcased. This catchy track is reminiscent of Tom Petty and the Wallflowers, combining classic-rock crunch and Americana flavors. Ringing guitars propel the wonderfully titled “Before the Devil Knows They’re Dead,” which should be included in a Quentin Tarantino flick. “I Give Up” has a slow, dreamy intro that provides a preview of the melancholic atmospherics that Gallardo would later unleash on “My Love for You Is Strong,” one of the best songs on the album. “Shooting Star” recalls the polished jangling riffs of Del Amitri, and “One Falls In, One Falls Out” is old-school folk with a country tinge.
Unlike many of the indie acts on the alt-country circuit, Gallardo’s voice is as smooth and clean as the purest water, which may lose him points from cowpunks but will win him larger crowds and more accolades in the long run.
Don Gallardo: www.dongallardo.com