If You’re Looking For Music Off the Beaten Path, Listen to Dewveall – ‘Word’ Album Review [VIDEO]
Dewveall (pronounced due-VAHL) is a husband and wife duo based out of Nashville, by way of Houston. They received nominations in 3 categories at the 2009 Texas Music Awards, including ‘Rising Star of the Year, Vocal Duo/Group of the Year & Male Vocalist of the Year (Jonathon Dewveall). Since then, they have been living, working, playing, and putting together what has turned out to be ‘Word’, their newest CD.
You might guess Dewveall is a country music act based on where they come from and where they reside, but you’d be wrong. Actually, you can try to put their music into a genre, but one or two words cannot properly sum up what Jonathon and Melanie Dewveall do. Having said that, if you like really good music, you’ll enjoy ‘Word’.
Jonathon Dewveall either writes or co-writes the music for the duo, and his songs are very cerebral. It seems as though he challenges himself to dig deeper and find a more interesting way to convey his message with every new song he writes.
‘Word’ has two versions of the title track book-ending the CD. The only noticeable difference is that the first version features a less-than-discrete swear word. The song opens with a soulful bounce, and a rock-like intensity. Dewveall’s lyrics and vocals have always been a strong point of their music, but kudos also goes out to the players on this one. This song is a great opening track.
‘Believer’ is delivered with a slow, deliberate, haunting, almost gothic feel. It’s interesting, because you can interpret it with a deep religious message or as a creepy ghost story. However you decide to hear this song, there’s plenty to enjoy. Melanie’s harmonies sway in and out of the song like a ghost floating through a room.
‘Virginia'(co-written by Tyrus Morgan) is more of a straight forward ballad than anything on the album. It’s a sad song of lost love, delivered in a sincere way and it’s about as mainstream as you’ll hear from Dewveall. This is a powerful, emotional song and comes together nicely in the chorus:
Oh Virginia, I let you down
Saw it on your face, I let you down
Now every time I look into your eyes
You turn away
Take me with you, Virginia, to that place
From the sad ballad, ‘Word’ moves in a very different direction with the most rocking song on the CD, ‘Runaway Sun'(co-written by Jeffery Armstreet). For some reason, I hear this song playing on the radio, and I’m not sure why I get that feeling over any other song on ‘Word’. There’s a great energy and intensity to the song, and it grabs your attention quickly.
‘Skeleton Key'(co-written by Morgan) rocks too, and is loaded with more thoughtful lyrics that make you stop to think about what’s going on. By this point in the album, if you’re looking for a ‘drinking- beer-with-your-girl-on-your-arm’ song, it’s obvious you’re going to have to look elsewhere. The songwriting on this record is consistently more deep and complex than the stuff you’re used to hearing on most mainstream radio stations.
Before the second version of the title-track to ‘Word’, the CD closes with ‘Carry Me Home’. It has an Americana mood to it, opening with acoustic guitar and the lyrics:
There is a river where you can go
All of your troubles are smooth like a stone
You carry your mountain, you’re all alone
Stop and let the water carry you home
This song progresses and builds emotion -not tempo- as it goes on. I love the well-placed, gospel choir-like backing vocal ensemble, introducing a whole new dimension to the entire album.
‘Word’ really takes Dewveall to the next level musically. In their previous work, I could always hear potential, with important pieces to the puzzle already in place: great, soulful vocals and solid songwriting. This new CD is dynamic, covers a nice range of tempos, and really utilizes a unique collection of musical instruments well.
I believe Dewveall could take ‘Word’ back into the studio and make it into a ‘country’, ‘rock’, or ‘Americana’ album with little effort. But I don’t want them to. This is an excellent, unique album that is a breath of fresh air in a world of formatted, genre-specific music. This CD is for music fans. Very well done, guys.
Here’s the video for the title track from Dewveall’s ‘Word':
I got to know Jonathon and Melanie in 2008, when they paid a visit to me at a former radio job. My first impression of them is the lasting one: they are very friendly considerate, socially conscious, and also very talented. Jonathon, the big, sloppy, smiley guy with a soulful voice that would make most singers jealous. Melanie, the sweet, seemingly shy girl who brings big, beautifully complimentary harmonies to their music. Together, what they do musically is very, very cool.