Drew Dolan is the Chicago-born itinerant songster re-establishing his true passion in music after years of spending his time on the road.
With a new invigorated spirit, the Blues and Soul amalgamating nomad has relocated in L.A. with one purpose in mind: to follow is creative intuitions to their ends. Dolan has been known to borrow from the touchstones of Swamp Blues and hard-pressed Rock 'n' Roll, manifesting in songs like "Bad Reputation" from 2019, which received notoriety for his gripping voice and the industrially potent band behind him. This year, however, with a downshift in his fervent Blues Rock essences, Dolan reclines us back in our seats for a Piano and Voice accompaniment that croons over our heartstring with a timeless bliss, and it's titled: "That Tree."
Dolan steps out into the musical world from stomping choruses and saturated vocal distortions and into Blues-lounge territories to tell an enamoring story about Love. In "That Tree," Drew Dolon takes us on a ride through a tale so vivid and captivating that it feels like we're glued to our chair, planted only an arm's length away from the Chicagoan-himself as he sings his heart out.
There's a warm grand piano that takes us by the hands and chaperones us from verse to chorus with an effortless buoyancy, only taking small digressions along the way through short bursts of saucy upswells over the blues keys Dolan knows so well.
It's not until a few moments in that we realize this track has a melancholic-hue about it. The anecdote is that Dolan loved someone dearly, but with emblematic forks in the road, they had to separate. He sings with a buzzing sense of introspection and heart-ache as he weaves his metaphorical tree into his heart-sick narration over the lines, "and I wish, and hope Lord, to become that tree because unlike me, that tree don't feel a thing." It's a quietly devastating blow that lands healthy in our cores and ties the whole experience that Dolan has packed for us with care into a heartshaped box titled, "That Tree."
There's no cause for alarm when we think about the dissimilar aesthetic Drew Dolan shows on this track compared to his swinging and swampy rendering of the past. In fact, the entire sonic experience opens a new chapter for Dolan. With an aching heart and the sultry voice of a blues Idol, this now L.A.-based songster has got us itching for one more spin.
It's great to sit down and chat about your latest release "That Tree," can you elaborate a little bit more about the narrative behind this track? Was this story one based on your own personal experiences of the past?
I had been on the road hitchhiking for a couple of years when I went home to visit for a while. The house was empty and I sat down at the piano. Outside the window is a tree I know very well. I spent my childhood running through it and swinging from its branches. It was, and will always be, a place of peace for me. “That Tree” is both a memory and a pursuit of this feeling. It comes from chaos and heartbreak; from loss and letting go; from wandering to being broke down; from seeking to being found. I’ve been told it’s a sad song. To me, it is something else.
What sorts of emotions does this track summon up for you when you were in the process of recording? Can you remember any portions of your lyrics that you think stand out as magnifiers for those specific sentiments in your vocal performance?
This song wrote itself. It came to me completely and I was lucky enough to remember the lyrics when I ran the tape the second time around. It said everything I had wanted to say for quite some time. It brought the chaos of loss into order for me. I think the line that always jumps out at me is “‘Cuz That Tree, no longer felt a thing if it ever could, goddamn that must feel good.”
Did you find it challenging transitioning from full-band productions to Piano and Voice duets for this new track?
I’ve always loved playing both solo and with a band. There are definitely different realities or challenges when it’s stripped-down, though. I wrote this song almost nine years ago and have recorded it too many times to count but never felt like I could put the paintbrush down. The piano and vocals are kind of one instrument in the song, weaving in and out of time, so I didn’t want to record it to a click or separate the takes. Which means you either get it right or you don’t. I finally felt like we captured a moment at HAUS Music Production (owned by Mitchell Haeuzser who also recorded and mixed this song) and put an end to nine years of back and forth on this tune.
If you could give your listeners a few words that would act as a Prologue to the experience behind "That Tree," and the rest of the Music you will be releasing this year, what would you say and why?
This is a song of catharsis and resonance. I hope it makes you feel.
What has been your biggest source of inspiration this year while creating new music?
The only shield from Chaos is Truth.