Wild-haired singer/songwriter Rob Drabin first appeared on my radar last year with the release of “Little Steps,” a self-penned collection of nine tunes that showcases both his writing prowess and a voice that comes across as a mix between Dave Matthews and Marcus Mumford. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable slab that remains in rotation on my iPod some 15 months later.
Drabkin gets ambitious on his latest undertaking, the two-disc “Live Vol. II.” Recorded at The Bluebird Theater in Denver, the Colorado native serves up 15 tracks totaling 95 minutes. It’s a nice blend of cover tunes — he tackles Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” and “Boy in the Bubble,” Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill” and Robert Earl Keen’s “Feelin’ Good Again,” among others — and originals that underscore just how good Drabkin and his band are on stage.
Among the real standouts on “Live Vol. II” are “Little Steps,” “Down to Fate,” new tune “Hope in a Hopeless World” and the aforementioned Simon and Gabriel covers. After a couple of whirls through this set, it’s easy to see why Drabkin is a rising star on the jam band scene. (Jeffrey Sisk)