Jake Dunn can put anyone at ease. His happy, calm demeanor is infectious. His immediate in-person charm can cause listeners to be caught off guard by his heartbreaking tunes. Jake has just released “Driving,” a seven song, self-recorded album. Many of the songs feature nothing but the man and his guitar. Jake is one of those musicians who can steal your heart with only his voice and beloved instrument. When you write songs this well, you don’t need any frills.
Jake is another member of the ever-growing Mid-Ohio Valley music scene. Originally from Pomeroy, he recently moved to Marietta and quickly became a local favorite. “Driving” is the product of eight months of writing, performing and refining seven beautiful tracks. He recorded and produced the album in his home, an admirable feat in any case, but especially when the end result is this satisfying.
An outstanding track, the album’s second song, “Better Man,” tells a story of lost love and the tragic things that can come from it. Lines like, “So he climbed up on that ladder/knowing he’d be coming down/but, before he left a letter/trying to explain somehow” show Jake’s ability to write a story inside of a song that, on the surface, is so catchy and listenable. Later tracks, such as “Baby Don’t” and “My Way Back Home” feel more upbeat and hopeful. These songs come as a great counterpoint to the heavy early tracks. “You Were Right” has an Avett Brothers feel, with upright bass and a strong vocal harmony. The opener, “After Tonight” shows what can be done with three chords and some emotion. It’s incredible to see the range of emotions that a truly gifted songwriter can bring out in the course of 32 minutes.
When asked to pick a favorite track, Jake chose the title track, “Driving.” “It’s the most honest song I’ve written. It’s like a journal entry. Everything I say in that song is real. ‘Driving’ is the story of my life over the past five or six years. There is a reason it’s the title track,” he said. From the moment the song starts, it grabs your heart and pulls you in. We’ve all felt the urge to “keep on driving” and leave everything behind, and this song brings those feelings to the forefront. You can feel Jake’s honesty and openness when listening.
Jake grew up listening to the usual suspects like Springsteen and Pink Floyd, but he says everything changed when he heard singer-songwriter Ryan Adams. He also lists similar artists such as Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson, and their influence is apparent in his music. With any luck, his name will become synonymous with these artists in the future.
“This album is a body of work that I’m very proud of. It’s really the product of living in Marietta, and my experiences here. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of talented musicians in the area, and listening to their songs has helped me redefine myself and inspire me,” he said.
Indeed, the local music scene has embraced Jake with open arms, and he has become a mainstay in local events. Be sure to visit JakeDunnMusic.com to purchase the album, and see where he’ll be playing next. My advice? Catch him now, before he takes off. It’s only a matter of time.