Dennen also shares a sounds-like-a-woman vibe with British rocker James Blunt, but whereas Blunt croons with a sensitive falsetto, Dennen's gravelly voice sounds like Billie Holiday singing Tracy Chapman's blues. That blend fares him well: As he bids farewell to depression on "So Long Sweet Misery," his vocal texture gives him a guarded maturity well beyond his years, giving an eerie believability to his plea, "Forgive me if I fall asleep / I haven't slept in centuries."
At times, Dennen veers into a more derivative sound; the reggae-tinged, slow-paced "Because You Are a Woman" sounds one breath away from slipping into "No Woman No Cry." But more often, Dennen sounds miles away from any worries; the album-closing "Someday" showcases his lighthearted guitar playing and happy-go-lucky attitude.
-- Catherine P. Lewis