American Dreamer is exactly the kind of album you would expect from someone who’s experienced America like Frankie Lee has. With elements of rock, folk and country thrown into the mix, it uses a tried and true formula as its core, and it’s a style that suits him well. It’s got its fair share of flaws, more in terms of execution than production or performance, but it stands as a solid debut effort for Lee.
The album’s most instantly engaging song is also its single, Where Do We Belong. Its rock base with a hint of country on top instantly catches your attention with the guitar riffs, working into a steady groove that doesn’t stop until the song does. It’s a style that fits his southern drawl perfectly. Buffalo continues the country theme with a hint of blues thrown in, making for something equally enjoyable and fitting for him.
The remaining eight songs, however, are all slow burning mid-tempos; High And Dry is an enjoyable one with nice banjo usage and a fiddle to match, but no matter whether they lean towards rock or folk ballads, the others just don’t match the character and feel of the previous songs. This marks the big flaw in the album’s design, as they don’t grab your attention anywhere near as much as they should considering they make up the majority of the album.
Nothing on American Dreamer is unlistenable, though. All of the styles tackled here are ones that Lee can handle. Had the album spread its focus more evenly between the styles, adding a few more uptempo numbers rather than overusing the slow drawls that define the album, it would have been a much more enjoyable listen. As it stands, though, American Dreamer is a good starting point for Lee’s music career.