The cover for singer-songwriter John Salaway’s album, ‘Americana Dreams.’

Artist: John Salaway

Album: ‘Americana Dreams’

Crafting an optimistic, inspirational collection of songs that encourage listeners and make them feel hopeful about the world around them is rarely an easy feat for any musician. But acclaimed singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist-producer, John Salaway, has proved his extreme natural talent to do just that with his latest album, ‘Americana Dreams.’

The musician, who has lived in Nashville since the early 2000s, has become one of the area’s most accomplished singers-instrumentalists, as he’s held a weekly residency at the world-class BB King’s Blues Club there for several years. Not only does his full range of abilities shine through in his residency at the club, as well as his full rooster of live performances throughout Music City and the U.S., but also on the 10-track ‘Americana Dreams,’ which highlights his abilities as not just a singer, but also a drummer, guitarist and pianist. The record shows his lifelong appreciation for the classic pop melodies that were made famous by such groups as The Beatles, as well as the southern country sounds of his adopted hometown.

While discussing the making of ‘Americana Dreams,’ Salaway has said that he wanted the album to show off his Americana and country influences, which, besides The Beatles, include Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Band and Tom Petty. The songs on the record were co-written by such scribes as India Ramey, Kyle Daniel and Scott Gerow, and also include the work of such musicians as Joey Fletcher on slide guitar and Bri Murphy on the fiddle.

Salaway’s latest album is a powerful and unique blend of musical styles, which thrive on his Americana influences. The tunes on ‘Americana Dreams’ creatively feature a blend of heartland rock & roll entries, pensive ballads and rootsy rave-inspired songs.

‘Americana Dreams’ begins with the bubbly and sunny opening track, ‘It Feels Great,’ which features a stunning pop sound. The candidly upbeat instrumentals and lyrics start the record off on a commanding, inspirational note, and will surely leave listeners wanting to dance to the pulsating beat. Set against soulful acoustic country guitar strumming, the singer croons about how he doesn’t want to be brought down. He encourages people to look up to the sky, as he also proclaims that there’s a reason why it feels great when people let everything all go.

‘It Feels Great’ than transitions into the album’s sophomore tune, ‘Take the High Road.’ Led by slower guitar strumming and soulful instrumentals, including the drums, Salaway proclaims that he’s taking the high road in life, even though people are trying to take him down. He emotionally states that there’s only one road to take, even though people try to lead him down another path, as he showcases his versatility and vulnerability in his vocals. He also affirms that during his life on the high road, he finds his peace of mind, which also inspires his listeners to go down the same high road on the rock-inspired country song, which has the potential to become a commercial radio hit.

Another noteworthy entry on ‘Americana Dreams’ is its fifth song, the Americana country-fueled ‘Inspire You.’ Salaway has stated that he wants to inspire people and make them feel uplifted, which is echoed during the powerful middle track. The stunning tune, which is enthrallingly driven by a sentimental violin and acoustic guitar, highlights the singer’s goal in life to be a positive force for others. He also croons that people should let hope and faith decide what will inspire them in the faith-based, inspirational tune.

‘Inspire You’ than transitions into the record’s sixth entry, ‘You Better Believe,’ which features Salaway’s powerful talents on the drums, bass, acoustic guitars, vocals and percussion. The musician proves his natural talent of blending gripping rhythms with Americana twang on the song, as he croons that he must stop living life on the edge. He also inspiringly notes that there’s more to life than just trying to just get by on the Americana-pop-country-rock track, which features electrifying instrumentation and vocals and toe-tapping, lively beats.

‘Americana Dreams’ begins to wind down with its penultimate ninth entry, ‘The Beauty That Surrounds Us.’ The tune, which garners inspiration from Simon & Garfunkel, features a haunting cello and overall minimal musical accompaniment, which allows Salaway’s vocals to truly shine. Salaway emotionally croons that he holds onto what he loves so much, while he also misses the beauty that surround everyone, which will surely make the song one of the most played on the album.

The record winds down with its tenth and final entry, ‘Always Wish the Best For You.’ The song features a welcome change in the beat on the country-driven ‘Americana Dreams.’ The now lively beat supports Salaway’s lyrics that chronicle how he’s been thinking about the person in his life. He emotionally croons that he hopes their dreams come true, and wishes the best for them. The upbeat vocals and feel-good country instrumental beats make the song one the one of best tracks on the album, and give it the potential to become a cross-over hit on the adult contemporary pop radio charts.

Throughout ‘Americana Dreams,’ Salaway shines bright with his versatile, bluesy-soul-country tunes, notably with such entries as ‘You Better Believe,’ ‘The Beauty That Surrounds Us’ and ”Always Wish the Best For You.’ He effortlessly accomplishes his mission of inspiring people and making them feel uplifted, as well as his goal to be a positive force for other people.

The singer-songwriter’s songs are rooted in the best parts of the past and contemporary music. With ‘Americana Dreams,’ he start a new chapter in his storied and acclaimed career, which continues to remind people that they should appreciate the journey they take while they strive to achieve their goals. The album is full of peaceful, stunning tracks that remind listeners that life is beautiful and should be appreciated, and people should always seize the moment and let go of life’s unnecessary burdens.

For more information on Salaway, visit his official website, as well as his Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, Google Play, Pandora and SoundCloud pages.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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