"Where It All Began” is the debut-album by new country duo Dan + Shay (Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney). All 12 tracks on this album were co-written by Dan and Shay, most of them with songwriting partner Danny Orton, and can be described as country-pop music.
Album-opener “Show You Off,” with Its use of whistling, perfectly sets the overall laid-back tone for this album. The infectious “Stop Drop + Roll” is made to be blasted from your car-speakers with you singing along. The up-tempo ballad “19 You + Me” is perfect to get you in the mood for spring break (or for some summer-frolicking on the beach). “What You Do To Me,” with its use of piano and a great guitar-solo, is another fun sing-along track.
“Can’t Say No” is one of the more straight pop songs on this CD. The musical range on this album is further displayed by the ballad “First Time Feeling,” a song leaning more towards country with its use of mandolin and piano, and the more pop-rock track “Nothin’ Like You,” with its use of electronic drum-loop and guitar. “Somewhere Only We Know” is a Cole Swindell-ish party tune.
The catchy “Parking Brake” is another of my favorites, as is the beautiful piano ballad “I Heard Goodbye,” easily Shay’s best vocal performance on this record. “Party Girl” is another song leaning more towards straight pop. This is followed by the folk-ish album closer, the catchy, banjo-laced “Close Your Eyes.”
With this album, Dan + Shay have left a fantastic calling card both as songwriters and as vocalists. They have a unique sound and the duo’s voices seamlessly complement one another. Based on the quality of this debut I’m sure that, a few years hence, when Dan + Shay have become mega-selling and award winning country stars, they can look back and say this record is “where it all began."