Richard Speight, Jr.’s ‘The Dance & How to Do It’ Track-by-Track Review
The long-awaited Dick Jr. and the Volunteers album has finally arrived. Kickstarter backers were treated to the album a day early, but now it’s been let loose to the world and man, has it given us something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving (for US listeners.) Aided by Jason Manns, Rob Benedict, Billy Moran, Emma Fitzpatrick, Cooper Appelt, Zachary Ross, Molly Rogers, and Rob Humphreys, this is one album that is sure to be in your rotations for awhile to come. They said they were making it to have some fun, and they did deliver. This record is a blast, and it’s easy to see that these musicians went in, put their hearts into this passion project, and ended up with a perfect result. So listen to the songs if you haven’t already (it’s available to stream and purchase on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon) then head on back here and see if our staff figured out that dance and how to do it.
“24 Hours a Day”
“24 Hours a Day” is every bit my kind of country — mixed with rock and roll and a killer beat. I love the melody throughout, but the chorus is where it really stands out as Speight belts out “I quit my job…” as the guitars increase in volume. You can’t help but groove! And honestly, who wouldn’t want to hear someone sing “Gonna spend 24 hours a day loving you?” That’s one sweet-talking (sweet-singing?) lyric! What a wonderful start for Dick Jr. & The Volunteers album! -Melanie
I want to start by saying Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” was one of my favorite songs growing up — I owned a raspberry beret that I had my parents buy me in Disney World at Epcot. So when I saw this title pop up in the track list I said, “Wait, that “Raspberry Beret?’” Yes. It is that “Raspberry Beret.” I didn’t think Prince’s version could even be touched, but it turns out it can. It can even evolve into something better. And Dick Jr. and his Volunteers did it. It has that Speight touch you’ll find on every cover the man takes on but that effect is something that unfortunately I can’t find words for (and for that I’m ashamed). But, this song is just happiness wrapped up into a Speight-sassed, fiddled, harmonious masterpiece. The background vocals filtering in behind his Tennessee-twist on Prince’s classic lyrics are the perfect touch, and it’s just flawless from start to finish. Try not to dance, I dare you. -Kaity
As a southern raised woman, I have heard my fair share of covers of the iconic Johnny Cash and June Carter song “Jackson.” From local bands on a Saturday night dance hall to Merle Haggard to Florence and the Machine, there is no shortage of covers on this song. So when I saw it listed on Speight’s album, I was intrigued to hear his take on the tune. Within 30 seconds this became my all-time favorite cover of “Jackson.” Speight is joined by Emma Fitzpatrick on this track and their voices together are utter perfection for this classic song. Their playful laughs punctuate the semi-flirty song in all the right places. The song pays homage to the original in the best way possible and that’s why this is my new favorite. I know I will be playing this one on a loop for a very long time, and crossing my fingers I’ll get to hear it performed live one day! – Brianna
“Me & Paul”
Maybe it’s the nostalgia in me, but “Me & Paul” just seems like a slight nod to the decade-long Supernatural con circuit Speight’s been traveling on (if I’m wrong let me live in my bubble). He’s spun this Willie Nelson jam to his own experiences, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence every city is a con city (Chicago, New Jersey, Toronto, and Nashville). Not to mention the shoutout to Jason Manns and Louden Swain that may or may not have pulled at a heartstring. As someone who’s been traveling around the country to these same shows for five years running now, this one holds a special place in my heart for this very reason. I think it shows the love and respect Speight has for the fans, the show, and the support he’s received through the years. It’s a perfect twist on a classic, made special for those who will understand it and hold it dear, and if you’ve not been one of the fortunate folks to have made it to a Supernatural convention yet, that’s okay. It’s a great song that shows off Speight’s impressive vocals with a great country tune to back them up. -Kaity
“Living at Night”
Speight’s voice absolutely shines in “Living at Night.” It feels like an absolute anthem you want to sing along to — “Woah-ohhh-oh.” This song makes want to dance, to go out, maybe head to a Dick Jr. & The Volunteers concert — basically celebrate everything the night has to offer. I also like that this track goes beyond country. It feels like a little bit of oldies, a little classic rock, with splashes pop mixed in. It makes it feel like no matter the genre you lean towards, this is the track for you! I know I’ve got it on repeat! -Melanie
Written and subtly backed up by Speight’s own best friend, Rob Benedict, this was the song I was most looking forward to. The lyrics are very distinctly Benedict’s — with his poetic touch we recognize from the numerous albums with his band Louden Swain. The music is also much simpler than many of the others, letting the harmony of their two voices really take over, and what a great little four minutes of blissful contentment this one gave me. It had that power to shut out everything else going on around me, which is no easy feat. It’s slow, light, and heartfelt, which are always the makings of a great tune. This one will make it onto your potpourri playlists and you’ll find yourself coming back to in time and time again, I guarantee it. And it only heightens our hopes of hearing more original content from these two sometime in the future. -Kaity
“Goin’ Straight” is an original track, and it’s a wonderful example of the sheer amount of effort and dedication Dick Jr. and the Volunteers put in for this project. We all know that Speight is a talented musician that has performed countless incredible covers of songs, but getting a chance to see what he’s capable of when challenged with crafting a song of his own is one of the very special things about this record. From start to finish, this song feels like an upbeat, fun, and polished tune that I would easily expect to hear on the radio. Emma Fitzpatrick joins Speight on vocals for this one, and their voices play off of one another in such a wonderful way that it’s almost disappointing when the track eventually has to come to an end (but that’s what the repeat button is for, right?) -Lindsey
“In The Pines”
I don’t know about you, but this one gives me goosebumps. Speight’s spin on this folk tune is hauntingly beautiful. I think it’s a testament to just how much effort went into making each of the covers on this album something of his own. It’s slow, methodical, and every strum of the guitar is poignant and strong. The slight alteration to Speight’s voice gives it that extra bit to really make it hit home. Showcasing that gravelly country twang we’ve now come to love as we get to the final song on this perfect album, it’s a flawless end to the journey Speight has taken us on through his musical tastes and talents. -Kaity
We also want to take a second to thank everyone who made this long wished for album a reality: Jason Manns, Rob Benedict, Emma Fitzgerald, Billy Moran, Cooper Appelt, Zachary Ross, Molly Rogers, and Rob Humphreys, and of course, the man himself, Richard Speight, Jr. You can listen to The Dance and How to Do It on all major platforms now.