In a genre that has recently experienced an influx of duos entering the scene, it would be easy to get lost in the pack; unless you are Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, collectively referred to as Dan + Shay. Dan + Shay rise above today’s norm, offering a sound that causes their voices to multiply, adding layers to their music and creating an illusion that not a couple, but several, vocalists are heard on each track. With an innate ability to intensify their presence and an unforgettable marketing scheme, this duo has made an impact on country music … and that is even before their lustrous debut album has been released.
Dan + Shay’s premiere project, Where It All Began, is a feel-good, simple, and organic compilation of tracks that will make you want to fall in love in a song. On beginning tracks “Show You Off” and “Stop Drop + Roll,” the guys introduce listeners to their style, which is a unique approach to relying on their voices with minimal supplementation. Their straightforward method of attacking their songs bears a likeness to a cappella groups that are so complete without the need for an abundance of instrumental support. It seems as though instruments are mostly relied upon during the choruses of the songs, at which point the tracks strengthen before returning to the more stripped down sound, which will soon be a sound that country music fans can immediately identify as “Dan + Shay” after just one note erupts from their speakers.
The heart of the album consists of songs that would fare well on country radio, Top 40, and/or Adult Contemporary. “What You Do to Me” further solidifies that these two voices can cover so much ground that they sound like an entire harmonious group. As the album continues, it becomes more apparent that Dan + Shay seamlessly complement one another, leaving listeners wondering if there has ever before been two voices that fit together like the pieces of a puzzle so that you can’t figure out where one ends and the other begins.
Highlights on this album are Dan + Shay’s breakout hit, “19 You + Me,” and the heartrending “I Heard Goodbye.” From the opening strokes of the piano on the latter, you can already feel the passion and anticipate that this song will be a ballad-lover’s dream come true. While the entire album bleeds of simplicity and purity, “I Heard Goodbye” offers a sound that separates it from the other tracks, eliminating the tendency for the duo to explode during choruses. Rather, this song consists of a piano, two flawless voices, and raw, unadulterated emotion.
What Dan + Shay have created on their first album is an entire package of intelligent branding (replacing the word “and” with “+” throughout) and a distinct sound that will make this particular duo easily identifiable in a musical world of twosomes. Between the talent of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney and the perception of the team behind them, there is no doubt that these artists have dug their heels into the industry + will be making strides in music for years to come.
DAN + SHAY’S WHERE IT ALL BEGAN Album Track Listing
1. Show You Off
2. Stop Drop + Roll
3. 19 You + Me
4. What You Do To Me
5. Can’t Say No
6. First Time Feeling
7. Nothin’ Like You
8. Somewhere Only We Know
9. Parking Brake
10. I Heard Goodbye
11. Party Girl
12. Close Your Eyes
To preview Dan + Shay’s upcoming album, use the embedded Spotify player below: