Five years ago, it seems, about half the new albums being released had Dan Auerbach’s fingerprints on them. Nikki Lane, Dr. John, Jeff the Brotherhood, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Grace Potter, Ray LaMontagne — if you wanted it soulful and gritty, you called the Black Keys leader to produce, mix or engineer your album.
So it’s a nice turn that on his new solo record, you can hear the signature sounds of so many others. Auerbach recorded and wrote much of the album in his Nashville studio. And in a city that’s crawling with legendary players and songwriters, Auerbach got a hand from several to create the sound he wanted.
One one track, Mark Knopfler’s guitar — a light brush stroke, for a moment — is instantly recognizable. Members of the famed American Sound Studio, who recorded with Elvis, Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin, contribute keyboards and drums. My favorite contributor is guitarist Duane Eddy. The two met for cheeseburgers and hit it off instantly. On Auerbach’s favorite Eddy song, “Stalkin’,” he tells NPR, “Even without words, this song paints a picture.”