Dana Wells
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Dana Wells

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"Song of the Day - "Anyone But You" (2008)"

“Her music is very different from the pop-punk-rock of Lemonface … she's apparently coming into her own quite phenomenally as an acoustic singer-songwriter. … I could say that her songs are great considering her age (She's seventeen), but the age disclaimer isn't even necessary. These songs are good. End of story. … Her vocals are amazing and I think she's headed to big places - we'll be hearing more from her for a lot of years to come, of that I am sure.” - asongfortheday.blogspot.com

"Just a Number (December 2009)"

“Listen with your eyes closed, and you’d swear local singer-songwriter Dana Wells couldn’t possibly be only 19. There’s a settled maturity to the lyrics and tempered voice of this strummy smartie that’s usually reserved for older artists.” - Washington Post Express

"Review: The Evergreen EP by Dana Wells (4/27/10)"

D.C.-area singer/songwriter Dana Wells previously did time in teen rock band Lemonface, eventually attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston and then embarking upon a solo career. Though still impossibly young at 19 she displays a musical finesse and lyrical fortitude that suggests the lessons of her early woodshedding were well-learned. Blessed with a supple set of pipes that locates a midway point between Juliana Hatfield and Sarah McLachlan and an accomplished delivery to go with the pipes, Wells, on this seven-song debut, delivers an even-handed blend of classic-tilting pop and sleek Americana that's impressive indeed.

The record, produced by noted local studio head Mark Williams (who also contributes electric guitar), opens and closes on a pair of obvious high notes: the twangy, jangly, spangly "Anyone But You," which against a midtempo, Tom Pettyish arrangement of guitars and organ, finds Wells offering up her unconditional love ("... and I won't do that for anyone else but you," she promises); and the lusher, elegant "Into You," a piano- and violin-powered waltztime number destined to find its way onto a TV show (are you listening, Grey's Anatomy?). Yet the stealth gem, for my money, is "We Come Undone," on the surface a sunny, bouncy slice of New Wave-flavored pop boasting a chorus that sinks its hooks so deep you'll be humming it in your sleep, yet with a distinctively dark narrative line about how no matter how hard we work to get out and get ahead, sometimes life conspires to just keep throwing spitballs at us. Sings Wells, "It could all be so simple/ It could all be such fun/ But the world is unhappy/ And nothing can be done/ We could all be so patient/ They could all be the one/ But we never come together/ Oh, we come undone." It's a wise-beyond-her-years moment, and utterly memorable.

If there's any justice, when the Lilith Fair tour hits Washington in August Wells will be one of the featured local performers. Come to think of it - she oughta be ranked among the national performers. Her sound's that big and bold and beautiful. - Blurt! - blurt-online.com

"Review: Dana Wells - The Evergreen EP (4/9/10)"

Growing up in a Washington, D.C. area household where top-notch musicians regularly come to record in your basement has to have an effect on someone. For Dana Wells, it served as a breeding ground for a subtle mind and a voice that are both mature far beyond her nineteen years. The Berklee College Of Music student is the daughter of prominent Beltway band leader Wayne [Wilentz] and was composing her own songs by the age of three. As the bass player, songwriter and lead vocalist for Lemonface, Wells transcended the usual high school band experience, becoming a top draw in the Baltimore/DC corridor as well as playing clubs in New York City and Los Angeles. As wells transitioned from high school to college, she also transitioned into the role of solo artist. The first official document is now available, as Wells has released her solo debut, The Evergreen EP.

Wells opens with "Anyone But You", a love song that avoids convention and sap to explore potential. Wells makes great use of imagery here and throughout the EP, wrapped in a simple arrangement and strong melody. Dana Wells has a voice that's clear and sweet with just a hint of amber; shaded but not dark or desolate. "We Come Undone" is a forthright and insightful look into the human condition and the chaos we seem to breed. Wells shows herself to be a serious songwriter with a gentle delivery that's eminently pleasing to the ear. "Evergreen" is a song about faith; not so much religious faith per se, but a faith in things working out for the best. Wells sings with her heart; showing an ability to commit to a song fully and in the moment without over-performing

"Leave Me", which Wells co-wrote with guitarist Mark Williams deals with the aftermath of a relationship. The song takes a pragmatic approach to looking back, yet betrays a deeply emotional vein beneath the surface. On "The Benefit" Wells acquires a country/Americana flavor that suits her well. The song is highly poetic and well-written; a wow-moment that illuminates the aftermath of a relationship in highly personal terms. All of this is build-up to "Watching Winter Melt Away", a virtuosic songwriting endeavor that uses both seasons and geography to illuminate the cycles of love and loss. Wells uses the song to uncover a realization that a relationship is simply not meant to be. "Watching Winter Melt Away" is the sort of song that other artists hear over time and cover because the song is so compelling and well written it needs to be heard. The Evergreen EP winds down with "Into Air", rumination on loss that's full of melancholy and regret. "Into Air" is poignant, skipping self-pity for an attempt to better understand how something good fell apart.

It's hard to know where to start. If you saw Dana Wells busking on a corner somewhere you'd keep throwing money in her case all day so she wouldn't stop. Add to this a songwriting talent that quickly paces the bulk of her contemporaries and shows the potential to someday be discussed in awed tones and it's hard to imagine Dana Wells doing anything other than making music for a living. Wells doesn't aim for such lofty goals as being a rock star, but she does want to be a working musician. Music fans everywhere benefit from that decision (or they will over time). This is talent that's meant to shine, and Dana Wells has made an excellent start of it on The Evergreen EP.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5) - Wildy's World - wildysworld.blogspot.com


"The Evergreen EP" (2009)



Dana Wells — she’s a new name, voice and musical vision to be remembered. Y’know, as in, 'hey, I heard her when and knew it then.' With her solo debut disc, The Evergreen EP, she’s already something of a seasoned veteran of the rock stage and recording studio at 19 years old. At the same time she's a fresh, still burgeoning talent destined to make her mark, and a notable and enjoyable one at that.

We’re not the only ones saying such, by the way. “Listen with your eyes closed and you’d swear local singer-songwriter Dana Wells couldn’t possibly be only 19,” observes The Washington Post. “There’s a settled maturity to the lyrics and tempered voice of this strummy smartie that’s usually reserved for older artists.”

It takes but a listen to The Evergreen EP to hear how Wells is already well beyond precocity with a preternatural musical promise that asserts she's ready to forge her place in contemporary popular music. Within a lovely and lush musical setting, she strikes a balance between rock and pop with splashes of Americana and folk. With her assured voice, Dana delivers eloquent lyricism and literate poetics with genuine feeling, honesty and verve.

At the heart of her music is the influence of her parents’ collection of rock, pop, jazz and soul records she grew up listening to, being truly weaned on music. “There are pictures of me taking Help! and A Hard Day’s Night out of their album collection and teething on the CDs,” Dana recalls. “I literally teethed on The Beatles.”

Over the course of her teen years she sang, played bass and wrote songs with her group Lemonface, who soared well beyond being the usual teen rock act. Releasing two albums and an EP, played such venues as the legendary 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., the Black Cat, The Rock ‘n Roll Hotel, The State Theater, The 8x10 Club and The Recher Theatre in Baltimore, as well as CBGB Gallery in New York City and The Malibu Inn and Cobalt Café in Los Angeles, and opened shows for Rooney, Flogging Molly, and The Hush Sound.

By the end of high school, she struck out as a solo musical artist and decided to attend Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music. “I know music is what I want to do with my life. There’s really never been anything else,” she explains.

Wells isn’t driven by a desire for fame or stardom but instead the satisfaction of creating music she can be proud of that also touches listeners. “I can do this,” concludes Dana with a calm confidence borne out of her already considerable accomplishments. “Even if I don’t become a rock star or whatever, I can be a working musician and make a living at this.” And on the evidence to be heard and savored on The Evergreen EP, it’s a lock cinch that her bright artistic future is fated indeed.