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Sunday, 16 February 2014 13:00

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. 2/16/14 + Video

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at KDHX Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at KDHX Nate Burrell
Written by Janet Noe Rhoads
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  • Date Recorded: February 16, 2014
  • Artist / Band: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
  • Hosting Show: Wax Lyrical
  • Sound: Dan Kinney
  • Video: Ed Kleinberg

There are bands that should stay in the basement and bands that make you grateful they climbed the stairs. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. certainly fits the latter.

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The band began in vocalist Daniel Zott's basement back in 2009, when Zott got together with Joshua Epstein, a fellow Detroit native and songwriter, to play and record, but without any intent for public consumption. However, the two quickly formed a friendship and a lovely collection of songs that made up a couple of EP's and "It's a Corporate World," the band's 2011 debut album. Currently they are out on the road promoting songs from their sophomore release, "The Speed of Things," and their fans are eating it up.

The pair's fashion sense and performances are fun and exuberant. The very name of the band, suggested to them as a joke, expresses a sense of not taking everything in the crazy business of music too seriously. (Yes, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the race car driver, is aware of his namesake musical group and is a fan.) The band's name and live shows may all be fun and games, but make no mistake, Zott and Epstein take songwriting very seriously. They unabashedly and proudly pronounce themselves creators of pop music and prove that the genre doesn't have to be shallow and come in the same old cookie cutter shape. It can be new and fresh, and doesn't have to remain mired in the cesspool of manufactured bubble gum flavoring it fell into during the past few decades.

The band performed three songs from their new album, beginning with "If You Didn't See Me (You Weren't on the Dance Floor)" which lures you in with a sweet whistle and embraces with a slow sway. The trio of tunes showcases their ability to use gorgeous harmonies to communicate about serious topics in a lighthearted and airy manner, enabling them to pull the listener close and draw them out onto the dance floor.

All photos by Nate Burrell

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