Dave Mehling | How Do I Make You Lonesome? (Sacred Heart Studios)

cd_mehling20-year-old Dave Mehling takes on the indie circuit with the help of his late uncle's battered Gibson guitar






Winner of the 2004 Beaner's Central Songwriting Competition, performer Dave Mehling began his career in melodic indie rock at age sixteen and since then has honed his skills through self-criticism, appearances at dozens of venues, several demos, and the help of his late uncle's battered Gibson guitar. His debut album, How Do I Make You Lonesome? brings percussionist Jeramie Olson and bassist George Ellsworth into a sound that has been described as a cross between Damien Rice and Ryan Adams.

While not perhaps the most accurate of comparisons, there is a distinctly similar pared down sound to Mehling's album. At times there are flickers of Rice and Adams, but generally the sound keeps a lighter folksiness that prevents it from reaching some of the bareness listeners find with Rice and Adams. Mehling is a relaxed listen, with the occasional nod to the energetic in songs like "Mrs. Robinson," which exhibits a happiness that is pleasantly mismatched to lyrics like "put a bullet in your head."

"Idaho" begins suspiciously like Shudder to Think's "Hot One," featured in the glam-rock film Velvet Goldmine. The song is a thoughtful, lulling piece made all the more calming by Olson and Ellsworth who provide a steady stream of peaceful rhythms; maybe not the most lyrically powerful, but no less enjoyable.

"How Do I Make You Lonesome?" begins bass-heavy and light on Mehling's voice then steps up the pace into a dancy, clap-happy tambourine-trimmed stampede that blends seamlessly into "Break Love" a warm sort of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" sound, tic-tockin' with a quiet snapping and spiritually-tinged lyrics that are deceptively uplifting.

Time-lapse photography on both the front and back covers plays beautifully into the traveled themes that arise in Mehling's album. The artwork is light, airy, and anchored more by Mehling's voice than Olson and Ellsworth's upward sounds. Even the CD, with its sunny, muted yellows lends itself to the album's expansiveness. After winning third place in the Highway 61 Music Festival Songwriting Competition, it's no surprise that indie rockers Andrew Bird, Limbeck, and Chris Trapper chose Mehling to open for them.

If his previous success says anything about him, it's that Mehling is on his way to a potentially successful career in the indie market. Judging by the genre's strong popularity, he may be in the perfect position to take full advantage of the scene. As long as his lyrics continue to mature, listeners and Mehling can look forward to a bright future. B | James Nokes

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