Seems like homemade pop troubadour Dent May has channeled his inner Nilsson on “Turn up the Speakers”, the opening track of his latest album “Warm Blanket”. Coming a long way from his first solo record “The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele“, Dent’s musical compositions have actually taken on a few forms during his career like folk, synth-pop, disco and even country.
If you were with him in the very early days of his outstanding power-pop group The Rockwells, then you knew this guy had something special. This new record shows how much he’s grown as a song writer and composer, and as a dreamer.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Dent spends most of his days in Oxford putting on shows, working with his other musician friends, and inadvertently changing the culture of a small college town in North Mississippi. Some would even say he’s changing the culture of an entire state. After meeting the guys from Animal Collective during the recording of their amazing record, “Merriweather Post Pavillion” in Oxford, Dent was asked to join AnCo’s Paw Tracks imprint. This will be his third release on the label.
“Warm Blanket” feels like a melding of his last two records. The electronic parts from “Do Things” are there, but he’s added back some of the live elements of piano and horns that you might find on “The Good Feeling…”. “It’s not so easy to feel this strange. I’m not myself, I was born too late”: that’s a line that grabs the listener on the single “Born Too Late”, which sounds like a track that could have come off of “Do Things”.
This track is synth-driven and is punctuated with hard hitting drum machine and funky, scooping bass. I read someone on a blog compare the lyrics to this song to the Brian Wilson classic “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times“.
Another stand-out track is “Endlessly”, a nice ballad about being in love. If there’s anything Dent is good at writing about it’s being in love. He’s also got a great set of pipes for those high falsettos that echo throughout this track, similar to some of those Harry Nilsson or Brian Wilson ballads of yesteryear.
Dent recorded this album in a rented Victorian home in St. Augustine, Florida during the winter but the album has the feeling of a sunset at the beach and a cool breeze. Dent is growing and he’s feeling older. He’s changing but also maturing, and it comes through strongly on this album. If the final track on the record, “Summer is Over”, is any indication, Dent May may be going in another direction on his next effort (hint: country music). Personally, I can’t wait to see what he does next.
You can pick up your copy of “Warm Blanket” when it’s released on 8/27. There’s also a limited edition clear/blue swirled vinyl that comes with a special poster. If you live around Birmingham or Atlanta you can catch Dent and his band at Eclipse in Montevallo, AL on 9/24 or The Earl in Atlanta, GA on 9/25.
Go get Dent’s new record, grab some “bubbly”, get under a warm blanket with that special someone, and cozy up to your turntable.
Here’s the promo video for Dent’s new record…