The album “Burning Through” by Dave Vargo clearly deserves a 5 star rating, but just I want to get my two cents worth in there anyway. If you’ve listened to Vargo at all, you’ll know that he is an amazing song writer and an even better lyricist. Musically, the album runs the gamut from pensive, slowed down numbers to upbeat Americana and Country gems. Perhaps even more impressive than Vargo’s songwriting abilities, are his lyrics. The man is a keen observer of life with an impeccable ability to put into words what it’s like to be, at the risk of sounding cliché, human.
I can honestly say that this album will get more play in your rotation than almost anything else if you have an affinity with this genre. These songs are deep, rich and polished. Dave Vargo wears his influences proudly on his sleeve, and I hear echoes and subtle traces of everybody from JJ Cale to Ryan Adams to Bruce Springsteen to James Taylor and Jackson Browne in this set.
A native of East Brunswick, NJ, Dave J. Vargo started playing the guitar at the age of eight and by 14 was performing throughout the tri-state area with various jazz, funk, and rock bands. He graduated from Berklee College of Music with honors and went on to become a touring sideman and session player. He has had the privilege of working with a number of notable talents including Whitney Houston, Phoebe Snow, Vonda Shepard, and Rupert Holmes.
Dave currently performs both solo and as part of an acoustic duo simply called Kim and Dave. He is also an active session player and songwriter. His debut album, “Burning Through”, was released in October 2016.
Honesty, fresh, storyteller and genuine – These are a few of the words that come to mind when I hit play on the first track, “Come Take Me Home”. Dave Vargo is songwriter who writes songs that hit you on multiple levels.
The melodies hit you on a physical level and just a few days in to listening to this album on repeat, I found that I carried them with me throughout the day. They weren’t just playing through my head, they were living within me.
Vargo is a wonderful storyteller and though his stories may seem ordinary at first blush, the underlying themes are universal and heady material to tackle. His ability to use simple, straightforward everyday language to communicate complex ideas is remarkable and rare. This is a trait you will also find in the works of artists such as Ryan Adams and Lucinda Williams.
This is particularly evident on the tracks “Finding My Way Home”, “Too Young To be Broken”, Twisted and Bent” and “Don’t Think Twice”. Dave has put his words and feelings so poignantly into these songs that you can feel the emotions of every note, chorus and guitar lick. Of course when he wants, Dave Vargo can bring his musicianship to the fore.
Something he promptly does with his guitar on “Good Enough”, “Waiting”, “Right Now” and “Pieces Of My Heart”. Vargo is singer and songwriter who hits all the right rhythms and mood notes: edgy Americana, soulful country, and many surprises throughout. To me, Dave Vargo is a master craftsman in his field of competence and this 11-song set unequivocally cements that stature.