Dan Reeder isn’t your ordinary singer, songwriter or musical maven. The fact that he’s signed to John Prine’s Oh Boy record label speaks volumes about his independent streak and absolute savvy as a master who can steer artistic invention from concept to creation. Although Nobody Wants To Be You is, in fact, only five songs long, it’s so full of ingenuity and intrigue, it’s worthy of investigation all on its own.
At first glance however, it creates a somewhat intimidating impression. Opening track — the title track, in fact — doesn’t suggest any sense of exhilaration overall. Singing in a coarse, forlorn vocal, Reeder conveys his feelings of frustration and the dread that comes with breaking up due to a doomed relationship. Still, despite its sobriety, the song remains beautiful and beguiling, with a melody that draws the listener in close to its intimate environs. Other tracks however, are decidedly more upbeat, particularly the one that follows. The wacky “Kung Fu Is My Fighting Style” may be the most obvious nod to the martial arts since Carl Douglas took up “Kung Fu Fighting,” although the repeated entreaty that insists the listener “Back off bitch” makes it a bit more of a metaphor in its overall intent.
The remainder of the set finds giddy circumspect alight genteel piano accompaniment, with Reeder himself not only producing, recording, writing and delivering all the instrumentation, but actually handcrafting everything involved, including the cover art and the computer he recorded on. That gives the EP a home brewed quality, an impervious, off handed attitude that allows room for expletives as along with any irreverence. Okay, Mr. Reeder, you’ve made your point. Don’t be surprised if at least some people are impressed enough that they secretly want to be you. Oh Boy