Dave Mann
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Dave Mann

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"Album review - Heart Over Mind, Bob Gordon"

Where does one go to make a difference that’s all the difference?

For Dave Mann, his band’s second full-length album needed to capitalise on their trademark strengths, yet take them to new heights musically. With this in mind he took bassist Roy Martinez, drummer Jade Masters and live engineer James Newhouse to his family’s 100 year-old house in Margaret River (a blissful three hours south of Perth).

It was a chance to escape from domestic distractions whilst being at a home away from home...

We just relaxed and had a good ol time, Mann recalls fondly. We got the songs down as they wanted to come out. It was a really nice environment down there amongst the trees, without the distractions of the city.

It’s been a place that I’ve been going to throughout my life... it’s just got a great energy about it. We could really focus and get inside the songs.

If there was a vision for Heart Over Mind, Mann says it was simply to do it differently from the first Dave Mann Collective album. This was a time for the band to indulge them selves (in the best possible way, of course) without being overly confined by time or budget constraints.

We wanted to just get in there and see what we were capable of, Mann explains, to see what we could do with the resources we have, the skills we’ve got and our experience at this point. It was really quite a joint effort between myself, Roy and Jade. We’ve ended up with an album that’s quite a big production in the end.

The result is what one might term a fulsome album. New attention was paid to arrangements and instrumental parts, a string section here, a didgeridoo there. Rather than come up with a concept for the whole album, the band wanted to see how far they could explore each song individually.

It was a really collective effort, Mann says. Everyone really put in their 50 cents worth. Sometimes people get this idea from the word Collective as though it means that I just grab whoever I can at the time, but we’re a really tight unit now, a solid line-up. The guys are really committed and really into what we do. I’ve opened my door a lot for their creative input and it was really quite a big effort from everyone.

The creative burst for the album was led by Reach Out, a dramatic, soundscape-driven track inspired by the film, Rabbit Proof Fence. The song has been a standout for some time now in the band’s live sets, but had proven difficult to record during previous attempts.

“It has such a spontaneous, improvisational aspect to it which has been really hard to capture on tape, Mann explains. We thought in going to Margaret River it might work down there... we feel we’ve gotten as close as we can replicating it on CD to what we do live. We knew if we could get that song down right then we were well on our way to having a good album.

The title track sums up Mann’s take on not only songwriting, but life itself.

It tells a story of following your heart over following your mind, Mann says. It seems to be the path that’ll give you the right answers and the most fulfillment. That sort of encapsulates the 14 songs as a whole.

Also especially close to Mann’s heart is the song, I Always Said. While it represents a different direction musically, for the band, in a lyrical sense it evokes the journey that the singer/songwriter has gone through and the sense of arrival he has since discovered.

It paints a picture of me realising that I’ve achieved a lot of those goals that I set out to do, he ponders. Back in the day all I wanted to do was make a living put of playing my music and releasing CDs.

Now I find myself there - here it is, here I am. I’ve really got to take it and enjoy each minute of it because it’s everything I’ve ever worked for. I’m in a position that I’ve worked hard for, now I’ve got to set the bar further ahead and move it towards the next level.

Heart Over Mind is the next level for the Dave Mann Collective. Step right up...
- Bob Gordon - Xpress Magazine


"Album review - Heart Over Mind, Xpress Mag"

The anticipated follow-up from the DMC has finally arrived. Clocking in at just over an hour, the collection of 14 songs encompasses two sides of this dynamic group - consisting of Dave Mann on guitar, Roy Martinez on bass and Jade Masters on percussion.
The first half is a full on mix of bluesy, crowd pleasing rock with live favourites All That I Want, Fishing, We’ll Be Fine and Everybody’s Girl and the like getting the studio treatment, with the long polishing period paying dividends.
Title track Heart Over Mind signals a change of pace to slower, more atmospheric numbers - including the mesmerising track Reach Out (inspired by the movie Rabbit Proof Fence) along with the songs about loneliness on the road and love in Locked Out and Grace Emily, which introduce some effective keyboard and string highlights.
Whilst the second half risks some overproduction on Crashing Down, the overall album is a damn fine package from these local lads, showcasing everything that is great about this band’s song writing, musicianship and powerhouse live shows. The next big thing from the west?

STEVE GROVES. - Xpress Magazine. April 3rd, 2008.


"Album review - Heart Over Mind"

The anticipated second full-length album from the Dave Mann Collective hit the shelves this month, showcasing both the ability to Oz-Rock with the best of them, as well as reflect matters of heart and soul in song.

Heart Over Mind is aptly titled, for it illustrates how The Dave Mann Collective seems to approach both their lives and their art. The opening track is pure unadulterated Oz-Rock, catchy and simple, it takes you back to summer nights at the local pub, when everything was chilled and easy. It is a journey album that could easily relate to life, relationships, history, or whatever scope you wish to put it under. The difference in tone between the first and last tracks reflect the furthest extremes of head and heart.

The beginning of the album, the mind part, has a spontaneous, live feel to it. Tracks like Fishing, Everybody’s Girl and I Always Said highlight the intelligent and rational observations one makes about life and new friends. These songs contain people you have met, but they don’t intrude, and so work well when your heart strings don’t want to be touched.

The title track, Heart Over Mind is the pivot point of the album, and reflects that moment when your heart begins to make more decisions than your mind. Necessarily more personal, the second half of the album describes beauty, pain and longing, and interestingly, is more heavily-produced than the first half, almost as if to make up for the lack of rational head-influence in the songs themselves.

Musically, part two is ambient and soaring, even dipping it’s toes into some psychedelic guitar soup at times. Mann makes more use of his vocal skill, allowing moments of pure emotion to creep into his delivery, while the instruments flow around the stories he tells. Grace Emily is a particularly beautiful example of the way music can be used to reflect a state of heart. The tracks on this half of the album are predominantly in a minor key, and the heart allows the silences to remain, adding to the intensity and depth, unlike the head, which is more inclined to fill the empty spaces with babble to protect itself from introspection.

The Dave Mann Collective are touring Heart Over Mind around Australia.

Fasterlouder.com.au. May 2008. - Faster Louder


"Album review - Heart Over Mind"

A second album is always going to be a tough one, with a first album no one really knows you and you are creating a musically footprint for others to admire, enjoy and follow. The Second Album has many expectations; will it rise to a new level? Or will it try to mirror the first to keep the die-hard fans happy? The guys from Dave Mann collective have been quite bold and innovative in their approach to this album, clearly following their ‘Heart over Mind’ has paid off.

The music has been divided in to two parts that can be easily listened to as two small albums or as a stimulating journey from the mind to the heart. The first section of the album is an intentional passage through the course of a life lived with head, mind and logic overpowering the heart. Musically the ‘mind’ part has deep rhythmic and rock beats, providing a powerful symbol of strength and control for living and loving. You cant help but tapping your feet and maybe breaking out in some lounge room dancing to the song ‘We’ll Be Fine’ as you sing along to it you’ll realise that a ‘go-nowhere’ relationship has a time and a place to use your head and get out or at least ‘Its just for a while that we have to part…’ and then convince yourself that ‘we’ll be fine’/ by chanting it out as a mantra in the chorus. ‘Heart over Mind’ opens up the thinking that in life sometimes it is better to follow your mind over your heart and especially in the song ‘my time’ Dave Mann Collective invites you to “…enjoy here and now, Every now and then you need to remind yourself to breathe, see the beauty in simple things/�

The title track provides the distinct divider between the two sections and a beautiful transition of thinking to feeling. “Heart Over Mind� has a raw honesty in the lyrics expressing knowledge of the place for the heart and the mind while still recognising that ‘The difference is unkind, now I must decide�. Melodically this song perfectly compliment’s the deep rhythm and pace of the first section of the album, and the slow gentle rock of the second half.

The transition has been made and now its time to slow it down and allow the soothing Ballard’s to seep through the veins from your mind and into your heart. The raw honesty of a naked heart is honourably expressed in this part of the album; lyrically the guys didn’t shy away from delving deep into the agony of a beating and bleeding heart in ‘Locked Out’ and ‘Grace Emily’. One of the most powerful and humbling Ballard’s is the song ‘Reach out’ inspired by the movie “Rabbit Proof Fence�.

The message is clear; following your heart is usually a bigger risk, but more rewarding and worthy of the risk.
- Thedwarf.com.au


Discography

Heart Over Mind (2008)
Endless Page LP (2005)
Wake Up EP (2004)
Dave Mann Collective self titled EP (2002)

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Bio

Collective is the operative word here because it truly describes the essence of the Dave Mann Collective. Dave - who personifies the dinky-di, favourite Aussie son- has rounded up a melting pot of musicians who make up a collective slice of Australian culture.
Banding together bass player, Roy Martinez with roots from 6 nations and a musical swag that encompasses a multitude of worldly influences, as well as Jade Masters, a drummer of indigenous lineage, bringing his tribal, rhythmic roots. Together they create a collective musical experience greater than the sum of the parts.

Dave Mann Collective has supported artists such as The Whitlams, Pete Murray, The Cat Empire, Eric Bibb, Thirsty Merc, Jeff Lang, Diesel, Jeff Martin and Lior. Dave Mann Collective has also played major Australian festivals including the West Coast Blues And Roots Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, Fairbridge Festival, Blues at Bridgetown, Folk Rhythm & Life and Peat�s Ridge Festivals to name a few.

As front man, Dave commands a striking stage presence; not only for his towering stature, but moreover for his impressive dynamism. He can morph from his laid-back folk crooner persona - with a voice that melts into musical nirvana- to the energetic burst of the iconic pub-rock front man, belting out an impassioned cry as if his life depends on it! Coupled with his battle-scarred acoustic guitar as his weapon of choice, Dave delivers his bittersweet songs with musical virtuosity and red-raw emotion. The songs themselves are artistic gems in the tradition of the timeless classics: strong, memorable hooks; heart-felt, profound lyrics that depict Daves autobiographical take on life. From the uniquely poetic view of the everyday, thru to the weighty narrative of social/political issues. No matter what format, Dave is highly individual in his expression in every aspect, one can feel the ache, the elation and the passion of his beliefs all presented by a seasoned well-traveled artist whose style still remains fresh & constantly evolving, yet instantly recognizable. There is always a resonance of familiarity - with soaring melodies channeled from the musical ether and then set in stone. Crafted expertly like true artisans into sometimes organic, less-is-more understatements to orchestrated sound scapes from classic 3-minute pop anthems to the odd experimental seed that turns into a no-holes-barred roller-coaster jam. The band plays with a fervor & intensity that is characteristic to the DMC style - seasoned musicians on top of their craft. The live show truly depicts the dynamic range of the bands talents diverse yet characteristically their own.