Danen Kane’s New Album
“Flesh and Soul” is a Beauty
Danen Kane‘s new album “Flesh and Soul,” which releases March 5, makes me want to go on a long road trip through spacious places in America — plains, desert valleys, countrysides, mountains, coastal highways. I want to step outside and just find something really big and overwhelming to look at — an ocean, a mountain peak, an iconic desert panorama — and then go there.
That’s what “Flesh and Soul” does to you. It combines the spaciousness that a wanderlust traveler encounters in our wide, beautiful world with an intimacy of a conversation with a close friend or a loved one. It’s that combined spaciousness and intimacy — the ocean of reverb guitars brooding over the earnestness of Kane’s nearby vocals — that gives this album a glow like the magic hour between dusk and night, that same little nook of orange light where filmmakers rush to film atmospheric scenes. (And the result on-screen always feels haunted with light.) That’s how this album feels: haunted with magic hour light.
Kind of a weird analogy, I suppose, but that’s what I love about music; it conjures fantastical images in the mind by just hearing it.
Songs like “The Song That Set Us Free” and “Rest and Be Loved” have that juxtaposition of hugeness and intimacy — racing rhythms overshadowed by peaceful textures echoing above the mix. And the lyrical themes return again and again to a sense of victory obtained when we trust God no matter what, no matter what our circumstances are around us.
The album has some variety too as it dips into funky, lively tracks like “When Our Time Here Is Over,” which commands a little hint of vintage Michael Jackson somehow in the verses, followed by lush layers of chords and a brooding melody in the chorus as the singer contemplates how “we don’t know the numbers on our dash”; we don’t know how much time we have or miles left on the journey, and we should surrender our lives to Him daily with humility.
My favorite track is “Love Song.” Its 6/8 lilt gives an elegant counterbalance to rest of the album, and it has an interesting color palette and feel — reminding me of the classic song “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” and yet as good as some of the best worship ballads out there. I especially love the beautiful pinnacle in the melody on the “hallelujah” in the chorus, as if a gleaming spire has suddenly appeared in the song’s cityscape.
“Our Love” is another standout — a carefully hand-carved folk ballad with nimble chord progressions that shift on a dime into minor then back to major — all with little delicate turns in the melody as it goes.
And the album ends with one of the best hymns ever: “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” — with a piano entrance that is goose-bump worthy.
Danen Kane has an interesting story too — one of those fascinating late-bloomers into music. According to his press:
…Kane’s first love was not piano or guitar, it was basketball. In fact, he didn’t do anything musical until he was 20 years old, when he felt a strong call from God to lay down the hours invested in his sport and focus on pursuing his faith.
“During my sophomore year of college,” Kane recalls, “I had a roommate who had an acoustic guitar and I was really curious. I grew up in a small town that didn’t have any avenues of learning that kind of thing, so I just asked him if I could use it to try to learn some worship songs that I’d heard at Campus Crusade for Christ.” Despite no formal guitar or vocal training, one short year later he had completed his first independent project.
Music was a profound discovery for Kane. The Wisconsin native notes that he didn’t know he missed it until he found it. “In my small town we didn’t have any evangelical churches. I didn’t actually know that contemporary Christian music existed! So when I got to college and found Crusade, that was the first time I had met a bunch of people my own age who actually wanted to pursue their faith and I realized something; I have the same beliefs as them but they live very different lives than me.”
I’m looking forward to seeing Danen’s music career develop. He’s definitely one to watch.
And I’m also looking forward to taking that road trip someday with “Flesh and Soul” playing on repeat.
Keep up-to-speed with Danen at these links:
[Note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly called the album “Flesh and Blood.” This error was corrected 2/16/15.]