Dan + Shay, Country’s Newest Superstars

Country music’s newest duo are proving that they aren’t anything to mess with. Between their sweet harmonies, young fresh tacks and fun-sweet lyrics, Dan + Shay are about to take over the Country music scene, and it’s all starting with their debut album “Where it All Began.”

New Country Artist Dan + Shay Pose for Album Art.
New Country Artist Dan + Shay Pose for Album Art.

Dan + Shay are a breath of fresh air to the country scene. These two bring a new twist on something that has been done so many times. When I hear their songs there are a few influences that I can hear and a few big names I can see them following the footsteps of — Brooks N Dunn, Rascal Flatts and Luke Bryan.

The duo is comprised of singer/songwriters Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. They first caught up and began writing in 2012. Prior to their meeting, each singer had their own previous musical endeavors.

Smyers was a part of another duo Bonaventure and a group called Transition. Neither group sounds anything like the music we get from Dan + Shay and I truly believe that the third time was the charm for Smyers.

While neither group was bad–I actually kind of enjoyed a few songs from Bonaventure–I think I prefer the combination of Dan + Shay, both vocally and stylistically.

“I Dare You”-Bonaventure

As for Mooney, well he was actually a solo act that was signed to T-Pain’s Nappy Boy Entertainment label. He had a few singles that were released on ITunes.

You can actually still purchase them, and you can also find some more music on Youtube. I actually don’t think his solo stuff is bad. It’s very smooth and nice.

I actually would like to see some of the same influence, tones, sounds and type of music brought into Dan + Shay.

“Our Story”-Shay Mooney

Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay
Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay

Then on a faithful day in December of 2012 these two met in Nasvhille and began writing together. After a song of theirs got put on hold for Rascal Flatts, the two began receiving publishing deals by various labels, but eventually the group was signed with Warner Bros.

But it wasn’t until October of 2013 that we heard a single from the rising stars. Their debut single entitled “19 You + Me” gained positive reviews all over and even did pretty good on the charts peaking at number 11 on the Country Billboard Charts.

I heard the song a little later than most. As a matter of fact I believe I didn’t hear their debut single until earlier this year when they released “What You Do to Me” as a promotional single.

Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay.
Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay.

Now when it comes to young country artist I usually stay away because I feel like it’s all the same. To me many young country artist begin to lead way too much into the pop/country genre which  is basically pop music. While I love Pop music, I also love and respect country and think that crossover doesn’t really belong.

Yet when I first heard this duo that wasn’t a problem to me. While there is definite pop feels and influences behind there music, there is still that country emotion and tone behind every song and every lyric. They bring each story to life and convey such great emotion with every line that you can’t help but fall in love.

“19 You + Me” brings such a beautiful, fresh, and youthful feel with maturity and great emotion. From the soft instrumental of the verses to the guitar carried chorus this song just feels like summer time.

The lyrics and story of the song is greatly told and beautifully written;

“Watchin’ that blond hair swing to every song I’d sing. You were California beautiful, I was playing everything but cool. I can still hear that sound, of every wave crashing down. Like the tears we cried the day we had to leave. It was everything we wanted it to be, the summer of 19 You and me.”

It just pulls you in and there is definitely a raw force that drives the entire song. It’s beautiful and very smart of them to use as their first single.

“19 You + Me”-Dan + Shay

Dan + Shay's Music Video for "19 You and Me"
Dan + Shay’s Music Video for “19 You and Me”

I want to now take a few moments to discuss how perfect these two are for each other. Vocally these two could not match up any better.

The harmonies are beautifully and subtly done, they compliment and don’t compete with each other, they each provide a new dimension and personality to each song and there is a sense of maturity in their tone that offers a pleasant surprise.

You wouldn’t expect for the sound that comes out of them to come out of them. At least I didn’t. It makes for an enjoyable listen that’s for sure.

Dan + Shay's debut album "Where it all Began"
Dan + Shay’s debut album “Where it all Began”

This is proven throughout the tracks on their album “Where it All Began.”

The album was released on April 1, 2014 and I for one have become the biggest fan of this album.  I was a bit worried at first, because I kind of thought a lot of the songs sounded the same, but after a few listens I found that the variation in the album is something that only comes through during a REAL listen of the album.

Each song isn’t meant to be taken in a shallow sense. You have to actually listen to the song, the story, the lyrics and get the real emotions and feeling behind each song.

These men did a great job at laying out the album. “Show You Off” starts off the party with a young, fun and dance type of track that gets a  listener pumped for what’s to come.

The feel is steady and then we get our first biggest change on “Can’t Say No.” This stripped down song reminds me a lot of Gavin DeGraw and Jason Mraz songs. A song mainly supported by Guitar and vocals. It’s subtle, sweet and a beautiful serenade.

“Can’t Say No”-Dan +Shay

971351_578533482199270_1474886374_nThen we have the ballads and slow songs of the album. One of the main reason why I have become such a fan of these two is because of the emotion and the realness in their lyrics.

There is an actual story behind their songs and you can feel that every line and every note is told with great passion and real feelings.  There is something very poetic about their writing style that really works and provides the meaning of what country music really is about.

A few songs that really showcase what I’m talking about are “What You Do To Me,” ‘First Time Feeling,” “Party Girl,” Close Your Eyes” and the main one “I Heard Goodbye.”

Honestly this song parallels great country ballads, mainly any ballad done by Rascal Flatts. It’s raw, passionate, heartbreaking and yet poetically beautiful.

“I Heard Goodbye”-Dan +Shay

1951_1380147352I could go on forever about these two. (I kind of feel like I have,) but I won’t. I’ll simply sum it all up by saying that if you don’t know who these two are you need to get familiar fast, because these guys aren’t going anywhere.

between their big voices, great song writing skills and beautiful musicality I see great things in their future. They’ve already been compared to country greats such as Brooks N Dunn, and while those are some majorly big boots to fill, I know these guys can do it.

As long as they keep putting out albums such as this one. Be sure to get your copy on ITunes now, you won’t regret it!  And if this post wasn’t enough convincing then here’s one more reason why you should…

“Show You Off”-Dan + Shay



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