Moons & Mornings
Dallas’ Todd Youngblood can be spotted at just about any bar, brewpub, eatery or wherever in the greater North Texas area. The guy spends as much on gas as he does on guitar strings. But when you’re a songwriter with as much talent and tenacity as Youngblood, it’s good to know you’ll be able to hear him most days of the week.
Moons & Mornings is Youngblood’s sophomore effort, and it gets off to a bang with “Monarch Runaway,” a nice bit of college rock of the early ’80s with definite nods to the late, great Tom Petty. Youngblood clearly listened to a lot of bands like the Gin Blossoms and Counting Crows as he channels some of that alt-rock angst and Byrdsian jangle into his more mannered songcraft.
Songs like “On the Fence,” “Hook Echo” and “The Right Way” are catchy rock/pop with slight country leanings, kind of like Buddy Holly singing for Creedence Clearwater Revival. But when Youngblood slows things down, like on the lovely “Windmill Dream,” he really finds his footing. Beginning with a violin, the song sets a mood that easily fits Youngblood’s soft tenor. Although it’s obvious the guy likes to rock out, he’s at his songwriting and performing best with the mellower material.
But such is a small quibble when the guy has the humor to write a song like “Mama Put That Codeine in My Root Beer” and actually make it work as something other than a novelty.
Youngblood’s charms are many, positioning himself as a classic, Texas singer-songwriter who just happens to know a thing or two about alternative rock. Moons & Mornings is perfect bar music, songs to dance to as well as make a toast about. Music this smart and likable doesn’t come around as often as one might wish.
Cover promo photo by Derek Porterfield.