Nashville’s resident indie-folkster Don Gallardo returns with his latest collection When The Daylight Whispers Darling, which is the follow-up to 2009’s Sweetheart Radio Revolution, etc. Accompanied by backing band How Far West and production duties helmed by Neilson Hubbard, the musical arrangements found on Daylightseem to hint that Music City’s influence has seeped into Gallardo’s songwriting style as this album sounds noticeably more country than his previous effort. This is immediately evident as a sharp twang kicks off the album’s opener “Time Pass By,” which is accentuated with an abundance of Dobro all over this country flavored toe-tapper. “Uh oh you got a long way to go before yesterday gets here/Don’t let the time go and pass you by,” intones Gallardo as he instantly and irresistibly draws you into this freshly released musical offering.
Following the album’s introduction is “Home,” which is rife with ample amounts of mandolin and pedal steel throughout its upbeat refrains. This subsequent track contains all the musical ingredients of a modern-day folk-rock classic. Its pragmatic lyrics “Home is in your heart/Everywhere you’ve been my friend is home” make this slice of musical Americana pure joy to hear and sing along with as it sets the stage for the album’s moody, homespun theme of love, loss and locales for the rest of the album.
Things slow down for a moment with “Rosalee” and “Come Together, Fall Apart.” These two ballads are but two of the record’s highlights, which can only be described as beautifully depressing in a way that could almost equate itself to the likes of Robert Smith’s most exquisite and tuneful melancholia.
The disc’s second half begins with the stripped acoustic sound of “Skin and Bones,” followed by the mid-tempo “Let Me Be Your Man.” Both songs are highly memorable and shining examples of how powerful lyrics can be when adhering to the musical adage of less is more. The sparse yet effective instrumentation underscores the power of the heartfelt lyrics, “If I was the night sky would you be the stars above/And if I was the river bed then let the water be your love/And if I was an island would you be the sea/Out there with no one else but your waves that cover me.”
All 10 tracks were written or co-written by Gallardo, with the exception of a cover version of “Long Black Veil.” Covered by numerous artists including Dave Matthews and Johnny Cash, this classic country tale about a man who has been falsely accused of murder, fits in surprisingly well alongside Gallardo’s original material. “Veil” has been ingeniously included shortly before the eerily haunting ode “Wichita,” which wraps up this highly memorable and enjoyable musical expedition.
When The Daylight Whispers Darling is generously peppered with fiddle-like violin, banjo, mandolin and steel guitar accents, yet it has a sound redolent of 1970s country-rock albums such as Neil Young’s Harvest, The Eagles’ Desperado, and Linda Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams. Gallardo’s smooth vocal style and outstanding songwriting skills are a match made in musical heaven. Fans of great songwriting and true musicianship should not let this melodious example of subtle brilliance slip by their ears.