The Garage, Glasgow
The pop-country duo charm a lustful crowd with an evangelical hour of skywritten love songs and falsetto floor-fillers

On the launch night of Celtic Connections, Glasgow’s remarkable annual festival of roots music, a rival hoedown has completely sold out a local nightclub. Valiant pop-country princes Dan + Shay – AKA young songwriting duo Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney – may not yet be familiar names in the UK, but their strident, soaring take on the modern Nashville style has seen them continuously level up in the US.

The release of their self-titled third album and its breakout track Tequila last year seemed to be a tipping point: they brought in 2019 by guesting on beloved TV institution Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and will celebrate their two recent Grammy nominations by playing the awards ceremony next month, sharing a bill with Post Malone and Cardi B.

If the mainstream beckons, it is not hard to see and hear why. Compared with modern country’s square-jawed but often stiff solo male stars, Dan + Shay radiate a more off-kilter energy. Under a shock of black curls, guitarist Smyers brims with Bill & Ted enthusiasm, punching the air with impressively jacked arms. Mooney is more laid-back, perhaps focusing energy on his effortlessly mobile croon. Both are now married but many of the screams from the sold-out crowd seem lustful: an impassioned aside from Smyers about the importance of supporting grassroots artists is interrupted by a shout of “take your shirt off!”

While their songs are consistently well-crafted, the default Dan + Shay setting seems to be magnifying everything from boozy hook-ups to renewed marriage vows into skywritten choruses. In small salvos, it is undoubtedly effective: Nothin’ Like You is an exemplar of romantic worship while From the Ground Up sounds like Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees with all the anxiety replaced by unfettered love. But over the course of an evangelical hour, the earnestness does get a little wearing. A joyous late-game cover of Justin Timberlake’s falsetto floor-filler Can’t Stop the Feeling signals their crossover ambitions but judging by the ecstatic response to a climactic Tequila – a song rather more wistful than that title suggests – Dan + Shay will likely manage it under their own steam.

Original Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.