In the singer-songwriter genre, there are so many artists received well by the public that it has become impossible to refer to one without saying something like “the new Dylan,” or “Oh, he sounds just like Ray LaMontagne.”
I’d call him something like a mix of Paul Simon and Iron & Wine. His wordplay and phrasing definitely remind me of a “Still Crazy After All These Years”-era Simon, but his voice is a bit more throaty. The structure of the songs also reminds me of Sam’s work on a lot of the Iron & Wine albums.
Windjammer offers up some nice, soft ballads that tear at your heartstrings. Nothing on the record is what I would call radio-friendly, and that’s a good thing in my book. The music Carl sings is a bit more cerebral than what a Taylor Swift or John Mayer might give us.
The fourth track on the record, “Coming Away,” is my personal favorite. I’m not real sure why, but it reminds me of a lot of James Taylor‘s better works. It’s folksy, but not country. It also features some nice electric guitar work that is mostly absent from the rest of the album. It also has an epilogue that runs a bit long, but adds in some piano to the equation. I’ll forgive the self-indulgence because it doesn’t take away from anything that precedes it.
That’s really my only problem with the whole record. The Magic Numbers have the same fault — not knowing when to end a song. It only happens a couple of times on Windjammer, so I won’t begrudge Carl for his choices. As a young artist you have to experiment and try all kinds of things before you really know exactly what you’re doing.
I hope that doesn’t come off as me calling the album amateurish, because I don’t feel that way. In fact, as a songwriter and musician, I think Carl Hauck has a lot going for him. Certainly enough for me to recommend picking up a copy of Windjammer. Like most artists though, I expect the follow-up album to be even better.
- Carl Hauck is based in Grayslake.
- You can freely stream Windjammer on Carl Hauck’s Bandcamp page, or download it for $7.
Carl Hauck performs “Coffee on the Rocks”