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John Pops Dennie - 'I’ve Got Something To Say' Album Review


1. Rose Garden

2. I've Got Something To Say

3. Adrift

4. Long Black Cadlillac Train

5. Creole Lady

6. You Can't Hear Me

7. Loving You Like Old Times

8. Gonna Move

9. The Pendulum Swings

10. Escape From Bull Run

11. Here We Are

After doing this for a while, I have been fortunate enough to meet people who will send me some outstanding music that I just have to hear. This album definitely falls into that category as Dennie grabbed me from the first song I heard. Musically, this album covers a lot of ground and really reflects that Dennie listens to a lot of different music as well. While that could have made for a difficult listen, these songs all sound perfect and cohesive together on the album. I feel like I may have discovered the best kept secret in Weatherford, Texas or maybe I am just really late to the party.

‘Rose Garden’ opens the album with a perfect rocking Texas Country sound. Dennie’s vocals are simply perfect here. He paints a picture in his lyrics that sadly capture the state of the United States right now. This song should be spilling out of the speakers of every Country station here in Texas and across the world for that matter. The piano based title track rocks in what is simply the easiest to call the collective Americana style that seems to be a catch all at times. While Dennie is an expert story teller about the world as demonstrated throughout this album, this one is about telling everyone about that special person in his life and nothing to do with the rest of the world. ‘Adrift’ once again powerfully details what Dennie sees happening here in the States. Musically, this one perhaps falls into a mid tempo type Red Dirt song, but there are so many nuances within it that really make this one all its own sound.

The slow bluesy ‘Long Black Cadillac Train’ showcases some incredible vocals by Dennie that should appeal to everyone and especially fans of Chris Stapleton. If this one doesn’t move you, I suggest you check to see if you have a pulse. ‘Creole Lady’ features a narrative about the lynching of an African-American woman back in the 30’s who loved a poor White man. This bluesy rocker should appeal to Whiskey Myers fans, Cody Canada fans, and many more. I love the guitar work here as well, and the vocal hook is subtle but digs in deep. At the midpoint of the record is the powerful ballad ‘You Can’t Hear Me’ where Dennie shares his story about the death of Ed Stradley. This song hits me right in the heart as it details the struggles people go through in life and substance abuse. It makes me think of people in my life I have either worked with in a professional capacity as well as friends and artists who have struggled with challenges. There are songs we hear that affect each of us differently. This song digs up so many emotions in my soul that each time I play it, I can feel the hurt and the pain throughout my soul. It is not just the lyrics either; it is the emotion that pours out of Dennie’s vocals.

The second half of the album begins with another slow one ‘Loving You Like Old Times’ which channels some classic 70’s Country and should once again appeal to fans who love Chris Stapleton’s vocals. The instrumentation here is tastefully done with the focus really places on the vocals. Dennie picks the pace back up with ‘Gonna Move’ where some hand claps are added to the mix. This fun sounding Rock 'n Roll influenced song reminds me in ways of fellow Texas artist Shinyribs. Some lyrical heaviness returns with ‘The Pendulum Swings’ where Dennie takes us on the journey of life from our careless young days to our final days. The slow western feel works perfectly with the lyrics.

We all too quickly reach the final run of the album with ‘Escape From Bull Run’ which tells the story of a soldier who decides this isn’t a fight he truly wants to fight. The traditional country western feel serving as the perfect backdrop for this tale where our protagonist proclaims it will be ‘whiskey and women that send him to hell.’ Final song on the album is a great one in ‘Here We Are.’ We once again pick up the tempo for this anthem which once again taps into a bit of the Red Dirt sound a la maybe Mike McClure. The electric guitar works perfectly against the acoustic skeleton of the music. I end the song with a sense of optimism despite everything we have confronting us in the world today.

‘I’ve Got Something to Say’ connected with me immediately. I am a big fan of the Red Dirt music sound here in the States as well as Texas country in general. Dennie has crafted an album that tells us stories in ways that touch the heart and provoke the soul. Much the same way that Brooke Brown did earlier this year with ‘Troubled Heart,’ Dennie has released an awesome album that deserves to be heard by a very wide audience. Be sure to check this one out!

‘I’ve Got Something To Say’ is available now.

Review - Gerald Stansbury

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