Dan Bubien, what an eclectic cd. Flashes of Funk, Jazz, Country, Rock and of course Blues colour “Empty Roads” into a very engaging listenable album of eleven original compositions.


Dan Bubien – “Empty Roads”.


** Dan Bubien – Guitar, Vocals.

** Gary Ripper – Bass.

** Andy Taravella – Drums.

** Timmy Mabin – Keyboards.

**  Joe Munroe – Keyboards.

** Eric DeFade – Saxophone.

** Chris Nacy – Harmonica.


* Track 1. “Empty Roads”.  Dan hits us with a Funk based offering up front. Pleading vocals offset by the guitar has Bubien set the ledger straight as to the direction our journey will take us. Bubien clearly showcases not only his writing prowess but also his outstanding voice and sizzling guitar.

* Track 2. “Fight Club” kicks off with Bubien’s Funky guitar jangling and offset with Eric DeFade’s wailing Sax. What strikes you very quickly is how tight the Rhythm section comprising of Andy Taravella and Gary Ripper are. Always right on the mark holding it all together with their moody interpretations of Bubien’s music. This song as the tittle offers is about life and it’s ups and downs and how we try to avoid confrontation in an effort to obtain sanity.

* Track 3. “”Crazy Days” is a sumptuous love  ballad given a Soulful vocal over a beautifully orchestrated Blues. Brass laden with tasty backing vocals of Jimmie Ross, Morgan Maybray and Andre Marocco. Bubien provides an understated guitar that wrings every emotion from every note. Brass overlaid with harmony backing again add to the appeal to a sound and style of the classic Soul of the 70’s. A heartbreaking story of love gone bad and why he could not hold it together.

* Track 4. “Exile Blues” is a solid Blues shuffle showcasing Bubiens dobro playing duelling with Harp player Chris Nacey then add to this some honky tonk piano from Timmy Mabin. This is a true Blues and as such is given the Bubien treatment who calls on his band to follow suit. Whisky soaked and cigarette smoke stained Juke Joint music one would hear throughout the 30’s and 40’s in the Southern states. The sound of a troubadour trudging dusty backwaters roads looking for a place to play.

* Track 5. “To Youngstown” takes us to the heart of the Delta rich in Blues history style and emotional phrasing. Bubien and Nacy again play off of each other with the band holding it all together. This is a trip down the back roads and byways of the Delta in search of love.

* Track 6. “Brother” is a wonderfully poignant Blues ballad that has Bubien call on all of his pathos and emotion as he wrings everything out of this song taking us to the depths of despair and then to a crescendo of hope. Emotion charged but not to the point of the absolute despair of the lonely lost in love.

* Track 7. “Dizzy Eyes” returns to the Funk but this time definitely with a Latin bent that adds an excitement in itself. The horn section and backing vocals underscore Bubien’s vocals and funky guitar. A song pleading for truth and honesty in the face of addiction. Mabin lays down some serious grooves on keys that add to the big fat sound on this oh so Funky track.

*Track 8. “Irony”, at first if l may say struck me all so briefly as “You Really Got A Hold On Me” but that soon went as l listened to this Brother Smokey Robinson inspired Soulful gem. Bubien again lays down his signature understated guitar that creates an image of a heart pleading for acceptance and love. Solid brass and Joe Monroe’s keys layer and weave throughout the song ala Smokey to build the tension to a head. Bubien could easily be a Soul star in his own right if he so chose to do so. This track is absolutely stunning in every facet. Love it!

* Track 9. “Keep Love In Mind” is a breathy ballad showcasing the group Soul of the 70’s groups once again. Clearly a style laden with gorgeous harmonies, keys and solid rhythm section. A heart rendering torch song extolling dreams of the love he wants.

*Track 10. “Love Games”is a return to the Blues in a jaunty rollicking hoe down. Can his lady really so shameless as Bubien is trying to tell us? Slide guitar infused to great effect, as all band members drive this song home.

*Track 11. “Sniper” has a back home hill country feel what with the dobro and harmonica centre stage and piano playing out a honky tonky jaunt. Bubien again excels with his vocals and guitar. Love again does not come easy for Bubien.


Eleven track that are absolutely stunning in their grasp of the differing styles of Blues music whether it be Funk or Soul. Bubien is the full package what with his exquisite voice, sensuous guitar and outstanding song writing. There is just so much to love about this album and l hope it is a taste tester for what is to come from one very talented individual in Dan Bubien. Now if you  will excuse me l have much more listening to do.

l think it is obvious that l love this album. Dan Bubien is new to us but l think he will quickly be embraced, so very talented, engaging and eminently listenable, as he has it all.


Peter Merrett

PBS 106-7 FM


Melbourne Australia.