Love on Your Side
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
“I love that when you tell a story, it can ruin the movie, but not the song.”
It was a winter’s evening at a house concert in Maryland. Singer/songwriter Owen Danoff had just finished telling the audience the story behind one of his songs when he said this- it struck me because I had never quite thought of it that way before. Danoff is a born storyteller, but he also has a knack for taking a simple concept or sentiment and finding profound truths hidden within.
Danoff is hot off season 10 of The Voice where the DC-native achieved 11th place as well as a rare four chair turn. His new EP, Love on Your Side, is the highly anticipated follow-up to his 2014’s award-winning full-length album Twelve Stories and yes, it was well worth the wait.
Recorded mostly live in New York and Nashville, Love on Your Side teams up Tom Whall (drums), Ben Marino (drums), Ryan Harris Brown (guitar), Eric Montgomery (keys) and Danoff’s long-time collaborator Mike Squillante (guitar and production) with Nick Squillante who mixed and mastered the album. The songs explore themes of love, loss and hope with Danoff’s signature finesse and tenderness.
The title track begins with a lovely guitar melody slightly reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”, then delves into the story of a love gone sour: “But now I know where you’ve been, while I’ve been waiting/You’re chasing your sinful pleasure.” Danoff’s vocals soar in the chorus where the protagonist lets his former love know she’ll get by alright because she has a knack for always finding a man-wink, wink.
“(If I Had A) Starship” is a charming ode to Danoff’s love for all things Star Wars (if you’re not already following him on Instagram to see his #starwars #picoftheday posts- you should) and “No Such Thing” is an endearing ballad that won Danoff first place in American Songwriter Magazine‘s 2015 Lyric Writing Contest.
My favorite track is “When You’re A Lover”-which really showcases Danoff’s heartfelt and clever lyrics with a gut punch to those who tend to get the crap kicked out of them by love and promises that they, too will one day find their soulmate: “But flowing hair flows through your mind like a river erodes a stone/When You’re a lover, you can’t stand to be alone.”
“By Your Side” and “Same To You” conclude the EP with simple, graceful love letters. The latter is stripped down to just vocals and acoustic guitar, which is all the song needs to convey its message of “You could be everything, I want to be the same to you.”
I once read that a person needs three things to be truly happy: someone to love, something to do and something to hope for. Love on Your Side is a beautifully crafted album which restores faith in the possibility that there is indeed someone out there to love, something to do and most of all, something to hope for.