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David Ullman | Dog Days

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United States - Ohio

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Folk: Modern Folk Rock: Shoegaze Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Dog Days

by David Ullman

“Ullman loosely modulates his voice from pin-drop softness to soul-tearing intensity. [His] music takes the listener to a place inside that’s so distinct, it’s almost a geographic location.” –Theresa Wolfe, LUNA NEGRA MAGAZINE
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Begin
4:40 album only
2. Secondhand
5:05 album only
3. Half-Light
3:48 album only
4. Start Anew
4:07 album only
5. Deja Vu
3:12 album only
6. If You Can
5:31 album only
7. Coming To
6:14 album only
8. Let Go
3:57 album only
9. Unspoken
3:51 album only
10. In Dreams
4:07 album only
11. You and I
21:59 album only


Album Notes
DOG DAYS, the much-anticipated first full-length album from Northeast Ohio singer/songwriter David Ullman, finally reached an eager audience in 2008. Most often cited for his poignant use of vocal dynamics and intimate portraits of love lost and (occasionally) found, Ullman delivered a debut that FREE TIMES music editor Jeff Niesel calls “exquisitely beautiful” and COOL CLEVELAND'S Peter Chakerian describes as “deep, dark and intensely rich.”

The 29-year-old Clevelander’s initial creative outlet was filmmaking, though pre-adolescent re-makes of biopics like LA BAMBA and THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY sparked his interest in music as well. “I started playing guitar at age eight by learning Buddy Holly songs—most of which are the same four chords,” he recalls. “Buddy Holly for me was what punk rock seems to have been for a lot of other musicians. You don’t have to be Eric Clapton to play along with The Ramones. That’s the way it was with me and Buddy Holly’s music. My dad taught me to play his songs, and I used to make tapes in my bathroom—overdubbing my voice like I’d seen in the movies. I also drew covers for the tapes based on other album sleeves that I’d seen, and gave them to my family for birthday gifts and such.”

In his early twenties, Ullman and a handful of friends formed a short-lived folk-rock quintet called “Steve.” Songs such as “Start Anew” and “Unspoken,” both of which appear on DOG DAYS, were written during this time, and Ullman’s long-time friend, collaborator, and former Steve member Matthew Jackson designed the disc’s cover. Other carryovers from the group include Steve bassist Nick Robinson, who features on the final (unlisted) track of DOG DAYS, key contributors Sean Kammer (piano) and Logan Ramsier (drums), as well as the engineering expertise of (brother) Brian Ullman, who also plays lead and bass guitar on the record.

Ullman’s insistence upon the inclusion of these valued individuals turned the making of DOG DAYS into a three-year-process—during which time he refined the songs on stage, performing over 90 shows in 2007. “Why would I hastily make a plain ol’ voice-and-guitar record when my brother is a terrific producer and electric guitar player? It wouldn’t make any sense,” he explains. “My friends and I may not be the best musicians ever; but for me, we were the right musicians to realize this material. In my mind, it had to be these people. Even down to the name of the label that I established to release the CD—Dreaming Out Loud Records. For ten years now, Dreaming Out Loud ventures have involved these people. It’s about making dreams reality, and I was committed to waiting for these people and what they could contribute to these songs.”

Not only do the tracks on DOG DAYS invite listeners into Ullman’s life and relationships, but also into the homes of his family and friends through intimate recording sessions that took place in bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements. Or perhaps, we as listeners invite him into our living rooms and lives—to play his guitar on our couches and hang out in our kitchens.

Hearing Ullman’s music feels less like listening to a recording or attending a concert and more like sitting down with an old friend on a Friday night to rehash the rough day at work or the latest lovers’ quarrel. His honest and confessional style brings him a special kind of rapport with his audience. He gives voice to those universal fears that most of us prefer not to examine—fears that our relationships may not be the safe haven we once believed them to be.

Still, the music of DOG DAYS goes beyond the traditional break-up record. A hopeful message persists and shines through the adversity, and there’s a struggle to maintain and repair the relationship that hangs in the balance. Ullman’s shift from smooth and gentle—at times pleading—lyrics, to the explosive and emotionally charged heights that characterize both his songwriting and live performances draw us into the conversation, assuring us all that we have friends with whom to share our everyday struggles, ambitions and disappointments.

Currently maintaining a consistent concert schedule in and around Northeastern Ohio, Ullman is eager to travel to new cities. In the months ahead, look for him to branch out into new territories in support of his debut album and its forthcoming second single, a radio remix of “Secondhand,” which will be released along side several outtakes from DOG DAYS.

-T.M.Göttl, Summer 2008



to write a review

Sue Broman

an instant friend
David’s songs are beautiful, voyeuristic glimpses into the human condition that is lost love. Each song intimately portrays the emotional journey that plays out when dealing with loss: the rawness of hurt, disbelief, abandonment, remorse, hope, and the fear of hope. David’s vocals strip away any separation between singer and listener and you are immediately drawn into the shared experience. His smile is incandescent, his voice rich, and his lyrics bloom in anguished whispers and powerful, soaring crescendos. Exquisite and exceptional, this album will become your trusted companion.

Ty Kellogg

former Production Director of Black Squirrel Radio and former President of GTB E
David Ullman is the mirror image of life. At times we're overjoyed, other times we're completely miserable. One minute we're optimistic, the next, we're untrusting of everything around us. We're loud and vibrant, then quiet, tender and submissive. As a race we're under constant dynamic change and growth. Dog Days is a composition that bares the fruit of three years; three years of maturity that can only be heard from beginning to end.
Dog Days is set up similarly to a story; it contains a beginning, a middle and an end. However, it does not follow the typical singer/songwriter protocol of finding love, enduring love, losing love, losing control and then finding it again. Ullman maintains a certain distance from this outline, taking more time to question his own life as well as the motives and thoughts that drive him while at the same time question every one else's presence in his life. It is clear that this man of a songwriter understands that as people, we're only as good as the obstacles we overcome and if we never question ourselves then we will never grow. Ullman questions everything throughout this album and by doing so, has answered with a steady flowing album sprinkled with clear and inspiring dynamics, sparkling guitars, well placed and perfectly timed background vocals as well as reflective and realistically optimistic lyrics;
Ullman's Dog Days deserves every second of your attention because if you don't pay attention, you'll miss something far greater than just a story - you'll miss a song, a lesson learned that could impact your life for years to come.

Terry Durst

a rare and beautiful gift
I am locking myself in the studio with Dog Days for the next two weeks. This record is completely amazing, so beautiful.... I was fortunate enough to see David Ullman's live set at The Beachland on October 22, and then fortunate enough to talk with this very sweet guy. I had to buy the CD after seeing his set. I'm obsessed with "Coming To" right now, but every song on the album is strong, and gorgeous. He makes me feel like I'm 19 again, and hearing Cat Stevens or Van Morrison or David Bowie for the first time. I haven't heard a new voice I love as much as David Ullman's since Joanna Newsom. He is amazing, and although he reminds me of many great people, he is a true original.