Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bryan Dunn

Sweetheart of the Music Hall

Review by Gary Hill

There’s a wide range of sounds on this disc. For my money, the disc works best when Dunn doesn’t reach too much for a pop sound. The opener, “New Mercedes,” for instance, seems too generic. Dunn has a lot of style and charm and should avoid sacrificing that for the “mainstream hit potential.”

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
New Mercedes

This rocker jumps out of the gate with a real modern alternative rock meets pop sound. It’s a good tune, but a little generic.

Sweetheart of the Music Hall

A mellower tune, this one’s slow and less mainstream. It’s a cool piece with a lot of Americana in it. Somehow I’m reminded of the mellower side of Radiohead or The Drovers.

Gone, Gone, Gone

Starting with percussion and Celtic instrumentation, this grows out slowly from there. It becomes more of a mainstream rocker. This is a good song and includes such instrumentation as banjo to keep it from being just another pop rock tune.


There is definitely a Celtic texture to this, but there is also an air of old world café style music. It’s a great tune with a lot of style. It really has a killer roots element. This is one of the highlights of the set.

Audio Stereo Radio

Classic rock is the order of business here. While this feels like it fits with the rest of the disc, it’s got a definite power pop texture. In some ways this makes me think of ELO. However you label it, though, it’s an accessible tune that’s a lot of fun.

6 Black Horses

Starting with a real roots rock sound, this classic rocker is sort of along the lines of a Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen song. Of course, that’s just looking at the music, not the vocals. It’s almost country in a lot of ways. This is the kind of music that just about anyone can latch onto and enjoy. This one includes some smoking hot slide guitar work.


Opening with a real folk arrangement, this feels a bit like Dylan at first (but with better vocals). After a short time it powers out to more of a rocking Americana meets pop rock sound. It works through a few changes and is quite a satisfying number.


The folk music returns on the acoustically driven beginning to this number. This tune doesn’t grow into the rocker that the previous cut became. Instead, it remains acoustic guitar oriented. That means it doesn’t get energized because it does. In addition, there’s some great acoustic slide guitar on this. It might not be the most obvious choice for a standout, but somehow this cut works really well. It’s possibly my favorite on the set.

3 Years On

The acoustic based tracks just keep coming. There is definitely a lot of country music on this tune. It’s another highlight. It seems that Dunn shines brightest when he turns his attention to real authentic music like this than when he tries to reach for the more pop oriented stuff. Of course, a lot of that has to do with the fact that songs like the opener are a dime a dozen and cool pieces like this are a lot less common. It turns very much towards a southern styled country number later in the piece. This thing is just plain great.


Starting in an acoustic based, lushly arranged mellow mode, this builds out later to a more rocking version of the general theme. Somehow I’m reminded of both Cheap Trick and Tom Petty when it does power out. This is a good piece, but not at the same standard as some of the other material. Still, when it goes into the symphonic-tinged instrumental section, it’s quite stirring.

Good Night, Good Luck, Goodbye

An acoustic based tune, this is very folk oriented. Certainly Dylan is a valid reference on this. It gets layers of instrumentation added as it continues, but stays mellow throughout. While it’s a good tune, I’m not sure that it’s the best choice to close the disc.

More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./