Regulars was released on August 10, recorded in Beacon, NY in March and April of 2021. It was mixed and mastered by Zino Pittarelli.
Darryl Rahn has recently transplanted himself back into the Upstate NY scene. After seeing him open with a solo set for the legendary Adirondack folk-rock band The Old Main at Ray Brother’s BBQ, I am quite sure everyone began going through his discography. If you haven’t yet, you should. His latest four-track release Regulars is a character study of four women. When asked if these characters were fictional Rahn said, “Partially! The names were taken from women that requested to have songs written about them on Tik-Tok, but all the stories are fictional.”
The first track, “Lauren” lures the listener in with clever fingerpicking and playful lyrics. Rahn has a distinct singing style and a voice that is difficult to compare to anyone. One might think a young Paul Simon mixed with Paul McCartney and perhaps some Justin Vernon flare. You will just have to listen for yourself, as it truly is unique. The wonderful pedal steel rises and fades with the backup singers into a slow build with a gorgeous soft fade out. “Aaliyah” floats with a sweet vocal matched perfectly by the guitar’s melody. “Aaliyah greets all the regulars and reads them the specials she could not memorize, then asks about his kids and work, she doesn’t really care but she’d rather tell a lie than ruin someone’s night…” The mix on this track is haunting and spot-on. One could be reminded of the realism of The Felice Brothers or Bob Dylan’s epic “My Heart’s in the Highlands” in the songwriting, a huge compliment to Rahn’s old soul. This catchy number ends with a glimmer of hope.
When asked about the writing process, Rahn stated, “Typically I write a line and a melody will hit me simultaneously and it will intrigue me enough to build a song around it. For this project, it was a little different. I would try and find lines that sounded good around these names, and then mess around on the guitar until I found the mood. For instance, I landed on the line “it’s 4 in the morning, and Lauren’s still awake,” and was immediately asking questions. Why is she awake? Is she at home? Musically I made the guitar part sound like a demented lullaby to fit the story.”
The third track “Sadie” speaks to the unrequited love we have all known. The timing of love and friendship and the imperfection of the human heart within this snapshot of life we are given. A beautiful violin part falls into the tight backline on this great arrangement. The harmonies and vocals make this a truly gorgeous track. “Caitlin,” the last song of the EP has catchy drum breaks and again showcases Rahn’s seemingly eloquent ease in songwriting. “Caitlin I know I always had you waitin’, I know I don’t deserve your patience, I don’t deserve nor your grace, Caitlin my middle name is hesitation, I am great at conversation just not great at meaning what I say.” This song about letting go and learning to move on is the perfect way to end the record and perfectly demonstrated Rahn’s incredible skills as a songwriter, player and overall genuinely talented recording artist. If you like funny jokes and cool merchandise, we highly recommend catching his show live. You can find his albums and tour info here.
I asked Rahn a final question about the experience of playing again for live audiences. “I feel it’s very important. From a songwriting standpoint, I don’t really know if a song is any good until I play it for people. Playing live also keeps me humble, and reminds me what I need to work on at home. I’ve missed it so much this past year.”