Welcome to the meandering insights of Aaron Joy (me!). Here you'll find 600+ reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. I try to review things that are unique in some way, which means not every album I hear or submission makes the cut. Please share these reviews or link, while sorry about dead links to band sites. No downloads. .... Also, feel free to e-mail me (aronmatyas @ hotmail.com) as I'm accepting submissions, both over e-mail & physical address. Look for my youtube channels on music, spirituality, my books & brandy drinking. You can support this blog by buying my books, links on the side. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog.)

July 11, 2013

Dave Shaffer - Unfinished Business (album review) ... Halfway to finishing business!

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: Americana, country, folk
Label: self-released
Year: 2012
Home: Maine

Members: Dave Shaffer ~ guitar/vocals

I've found that it's hard to be humorous in music without being stupid or having the joke go stale. But, DS opens his self-released Americana flavored album Unfinished Business with the delightful "Beans At Your Bar-B-Q" about a woman being arrested at a BBQ for having a dozen husbands who passed away mysteriously ... well, not so much mysteriously as she was a cannibal, as DS sings "I know it sounds impossible/that every guy she dated ended up on the table as a casserole." It's a popular & fun tune in his catalog of original songs, but a deceptive one. It makes one think the rest of the album will follow in the same ironic suite, but it doesn't. Actually, it gets lyrically far more serious & somber with numerous songs that are just waiting for a Nashville song-plugger to grab them up & turn them into hits as they have an emotional wallop. If I sang in the country & folk world I'd love to add some of these to my repertoire. DS plays guitar & sings with an Americana, sometimes folksy, sometimes country, sometimes rockabilly flavor, never going to far in any direction & thus this will appeal to a wide audience. Or, if you like Jerry Garcia's post-Grateful Dead days or guitarist David Wilcox you should enjoy this. Unfinished Business is aptly titled as its a thematic collection of songs about loneliness, lives messed up (or in this case a man's life messed up), lost love & lost families. DS has a great talent of weaving together very visual lyrics of people in desperate situations that will bring repeated listens. "Halfway" sings about remaining in our own self-created prisons & falling in love halfway but not completely. The rockabilly tinted "Here I Stand" is about coming back to a relationship after life has changed, & not for the better, with great visuals of being a bum singing "thanks for the spare change, now go home & take care of your family" which is really his family. It's a haunting standout track. The rest of the collection continues with variations on a theme of being broken & lonely, but not so much giving up but certainly moving on. Is it moving on with regret? Not necessarily. Just giving up. Is that a bad thing? Well, the album might have sad lyrics but it's not really a sad album, no more than listening to Doc Watson is sad. It's more like songs of life that DS sings of, life just is. If it helps get your interest, my 68 year old dad heard this album before I did & thought it was great.


  1. There is no one quite like Dave Shaffer. Don't miss the experience...

  2. and if you LIKE the songs on the album you will LIKE his new song A LOT, to be released soon.

    1. Yes, he just wrote me saying he'd been doing some recording. He also wrote and said the title of the album is reflective of it not being a finished product, but it works perfectly for the under-lining theme of loss. Funny those things.

  3. wonderful review of a great album. If you prefer a hard copy over the ITunes or Amazon, send Dave email and he can tell you how to have a hard copy mailed to you for a similar fee. see contact tab at his website - http://davidjshaffer.com/music.html