Virginia’s David Arn is a prolific songwriter – his Americana and soft rock songs in his newest collection, Traveler Tales, are 14 selections strong. You wouldn’t know it, for at first it sounds like you’re dipping your toes into a modest singer/songwriter selling his voice and song for a momentary reaction. Soon, the sonic experience reveals itself to linger longer, feel a stronger impact and even convey beauty. Arn, as solid as a songwriter as they come, has created a sonic masterpiece in Traveler Tales.
In all of these songs, told from the perspective of 14 different travelers, Arn makes the listener feel at home. Whether the guitar is strumming ever-so slightly, as in the first song “We’re Not Broken: The Lover’s Tale” or picking up slack in the same vein as Dawes in “Fallen Bird: The Beggar’s Tale”, adding even that murky steel guitar sound, he allows the listener to settle in, take their coat off and stay awhile.
Listen to Traveler Tales on Apple Music
I found myself drifting away into his voice. He sings like he’s an old cowboy, a man that has worked the fields. His hands, I imagine so, are callused from the guitar strings, as well as gripping the fellas he meets in his travelers. While listening to these songs, and even arriving at the songs when a female vocalist is at the lead, as a listener, I can only surmise the amount of time that it took Arn to compose such multi-layered prose. He sings from his heart and even when the soft-rock guitar travels into the night, it’s authentic.
Ava Hart takes the vocal reigns on the tracks “Mother’s Day – The Mother’s Tale” and “Silently Drifting to Paradise: The Sinner’s Tale”. Hart is wholesome and has the warmth in her voice that Arn can’t provide for these particular tracks. I think it’s a smart move and follows in line with the sequence of the album. Afterall, the ‘Mother’s Day’ perspective, from a woman, is very important. Equally moving is the fact that Hart is mother to a child on the autistic spectrum. The song is about her love, and when she sings I’m always fighting an invisible war, she creates an immediate image of a tireless love, an emotional (at times) drain. She endures. “Silently Drifting to Paradise: The Sinner’s Tale” has Hart elevating her vocals, crafting a different emotional reach. I loved the acoustic guitar work in this one.
With so many songs, so many choices, it’s hard to find a bad apple in the orchard of songs Arn creates. His decision to recruit Hart to the table is exceptional – as is she. I loved the way all of the tracks on Traveler Tales elicit such evocative thoughts. You start to picture people in your own life, and in a patchwork way, you start to create the story in different ways. I think if you listen to Traveler Tales in the same sequence, you have a clear indication that Arn’s songwriting talents are like some of history’s best authors.