I’ve had a bone to pick with Australian singer/songwriter Darren Hanlon for the better part of five years. After exploding onto my musical radar in 2010 with his beyond-amazing fourth album “I Will Love You at All” — one of the best platters of that year (and of most years since), the talented tunesmith fell out of sight. I’ve been waiting darn near half a decade for more music from Hanlon and I’m not a particularly patient fellow.
After spinning new full-length “Where Did You Come From?” pretty much non-stop for the past few weeks, I’m happy to report that all is forgiven. The wait was excruciating but at least the pay off is a 13-track release that’s every bit as good as its predecessor.
Hanlon hit the road for a trip through the American South while prepping for the album. He wound up utilizing a handful of musicians on the record and laid down tracks in New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, Clarksdale, Miss. and Muscle Shoals, Ala.
“I went on an exploratory adventure of the American southern states and the whole thing grew up around me,” Hanlon explains. “I spent about 20 nights sleeping on different Amtrak trains with my jumper rolled up under my head for a pillow. When I hopped off (the train) I walked around the cities and met buskers, tap dancers, preachers, drunks and drug dealers, all of whom had something worth learning about.”
Those experiences proved fruitful for an album that doesn’t have a single misstep in 55 glorious minutes. While every song is winner here, pay particular attention to standouts “Salvation Army,” “When You Go,” “Fear of the Civil War,” “My Love Is an Ocean Away,” “The Will of the River,” “Halley’s Comet, 1986” and “Shine a Light.” Here’s hoping Hanlon won’t make us wait so long for the next record. (Jeffrey Sisk)