While still a fresh face to many, Darryl Rahn has four releases already under his belt and is steadily churning out material displaying a wisdom beyond his 23 years. The Utica, NY native is, at the time of this writing, gearing up to play a Thanksgiving show close to his hometown in upstate New York, an event which is becoming an annual tradition for him. Currently based in Brooklyn, Rahn has garnered effusive praise from national touring acts (notably from recent tour partners Guster) for his soaring tenor vocals and intricate guitar lines.
The song ‘Savannah‘, Rahn’s most recent release, is a tender and heartfelt ballad which neatly nestles itself in that elusive sweet spot between meaningful and marketable, just outside the mainstream but never straying too far from a mainstream listener’s comfort zone. Rahn describes it as ‘my mom’s favourite song of mine‘, a tribute almost as sweet as the song itself.
Packing a guitar line which would not sound out of place on an Iron and Wine record, paired with a vocal quality which is uniquely Rahn’s own, ‘Savannah’ wistfully recounts a chance meeting, and the beginnings of a relationship which never quite came to fruition; it’s a story many of us can relate to. Indeed, perhaps we all have a Savannah somewhere in our past, someone we’ve never quite shed the what-ifs and might-have-beens for, and the song very much brings out those what-ifs, encouraging us to take a nostalgic look at them before smiling and returning them to that shelf until the next time.
Rahn cites the Avett Brothers as an influence – indeed, it was from picking up one of their records on impulse that Rahn was bitten by the songwriting bug – and that influence is clear to hear on much of his material. ‘Savannah’ is no exception to this, while still exhibiting a sound firmly Rahn’s own.
A yearning bridge guides the song out of its second verse, showing off the range of Rahn’s vocals, a seemingly effortless soaring into the upper register, then delivers the third verse just as seamlessly, with a few melodic twists that keep the song fresh as it draws to a close.
All in all, a very solid effort from a singer-songwriter who is clearly growing more and more comfortable with his art.
Check out Darryl Rahn on SoundCloud or, if you’re lucky enough to be spending Thanksgiving in the area, at the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton, NY on November 24th.