Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” – Keith Richards

In an ever changing landscape, music seems to be at somewhat of a standstill over the past year. In an era where anyone can compose a song, where pro tools can make even the most mediocre talent sound like the Stones, and where the average person’s attention span is more single driven than the album experience, it seems that the art and the passion behind the full album experience are a thing of the past. That is, until you listen to Dustin Schaefer’s new self titled album.

Hailing from Victoria, Texas, Schaefer began playing guitar at a young age and never looked back. His first touring experience came with Micky & the Motorcars in 2011, and eventually led to stints with Parker McCollum, The Black Lillies, and now as the lead guitarist for Shane Smith & the Saints

Schaefer draws influences from classic and modern rock, guitar virtuosos such as Eric Johnson, and even pop music, which translates to a classic guitar-driven twist on modern arrangements. His guitar playing rivals even the most seasoned players and this album showcases that talent. The proficiency and the tone is like a Joe Walsh riff blending with John Mayer’s smooth solo style. Every note, every verse, every second of music is thought out and very real. Any person can learn guitar, but Schaefer sets himself apart by being able to not only lyrically tell a story, but by being able to make you feel the emotions behind every note.

“Forever” kicks off the album with an upbeat, almost AC/DC feel that blends perfectly with the alternative vibe that the verse and chorus take you to. “Cold Shoulder” is an absolute showcase of his epic guitar playing and vocal range. Most notably he recognizes when to back off but also when to bring the power to the forefront. “Hold On” gives the listener a little bit of a breather, but make no mistake: even in his most mellow playing moments, the guitar playing will take you to a new space and keep you coming back for more. “Signs” might be my personal favorite, and is once again a testament to an artist who can truly make you feel the emotion behind the notes. “So High” will take you back to an early 2000s vibe, with the upbeat drums keeping the listener in for the whole ride. The album ends with a very personal yet heavy song called “Tegeler’s Ballad-“ a song about Dustin’s late cousin Jay Tegeler, which features lyrics written by Jay, as the album fades out to an epic guitar solo a lá Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd.

What you experience after listening to this full album is feeling the emotions of a someone who finally was able to release an album that is 100% him. This album grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until the final note. This album is every emotion, passion and talent you could hope for. This album is Dustin Schaefer.