Dave Pahanish - Dave Pahanish
By: Matt Bjorke
In a town where it’s getting increasingly harder to have your songs get cut songwriter Dave Pahanish has managed to come virtually out of nowhere to become an increasingly in-demand writer for the top stars of country music. After scoring cuts on (and producing half of) Jimmy Wayne’s Do You Believe Me Now album, Dave and his production co-writer Joe West scored the title track to Toby Keith’s American Ride album. Emily West also cut a song (click here to see a live performance with Dave) which should end up on an album if one ever comes out and other artists are now clamoring for Dave’s songs including Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, who recorded “Without You” for his new Get Closer album after hearing it on this album (handed to him by Miss Emily).
Musically Dave Pahanish is contemporary country with adult rock/pop mixed in to the melodies and lyrics and Dave Pahanish’s album leadoff track “Give It Away” turns clever lines like “Every nation has their own interpretation of the golden rule” and stuff about keeping up with the joneses to spin plainspoken wisdom like “To keep what you got, you’ve got to give it away” to tell folks “if you want your love to grow, you got to let it flow.” It’s interesting melodically and vocally and lyrically, the type of smart modern country/pop that more artists would do well to pay attention to. “Right Back At You” has another groovy, pop-leaning melody with a romantic vocal delivery with more clever lyrics. “Did You Love” feels like a bit of David Gray-ish folk/pop while “I Get Up” feels like the kind of arena-ready sing-a-long Sugarland could’ve not ‘offended’ other country music fans and critics by recording for The Incredible Machine.
The previously mentioned songs cut by Keith Urban, Jimmy Wayne and Toby Keith are featured on this album, as if to show fans, like the awesome Original Songwriter Demos series from Warner Brothers Records, that many artists don’t change too much to a song although the cleverness and lyrics of “American Ride” sound better in the original incarnation as “This American Life.” “Do You Believe Me Now” and “I Will” (both hits for Jimmy Wayne) are virtually the same as Jimmy’s recordings while the same can now be said about the fantastic “Without You.” All of these songs have slightly different productions to ‘fill’ them to fit the vocalists who recorded them.
There are a couple of fantastic ballads on Dave Pahanish like the piano-based “Smooth Sailing.” It’s an Elton John-like song about a dreamer who has plans for what she’s gonna do with her life. Another song that is fantastically realized lyrically and melodically is “The One That Got Away,” a song that’s been recorded by a couple of folks in Nashville and one anyone who’s left their small town to chase a dream will relate to, particularly when they return to find the people who ran them down now want to be around them: “Everybody wants a piece of the one that got away.”
Everything about Dave Pahanish suggests that this is a songwriter who could be played on any country or adult rock/pop station and garner success. He has a strong tenor voice that recalls Keith Urban at times and while this has probably gotten labels to think twice about singing this fantastic songwriter to a recording contract, his strong songs should be what gets people’s attention, along with a fantastic and engergetic live show (not to mention his rugged handsomeness). Really, Nashville labels, what are you waiting for. Dave Pahanish is an artist who should have a record deal and a fantastic example of the kind of talent that is constantly working around Nashville.