Good songwriters know how to harness the cathartic power of music. They can serve as surrogates—expressing their listener’s deepest feelings in a way they didn’t know how to articulate on their own. They can actually become their audience’s voice. Dawson Gamble is one such songwriter. His latest single, “What You Don’t Know,” is infectiously catchy and indispensably cathartic. Despite the song’s melancholic themes, you can’t help but smile as you sing along. Songs like this help you relate, process, move on, and rebuild hope.
Gamble’s new single is primarily guitar-driven. In true pop fashion, the verses are built with 10th-over-the-root dyads, and the chorus is painted with bright, prominent barre chords that jangle like a handful of silvery chains. The guitar tone is vivid and gleaming, and the hook is delightfully unpredictable. “What You Don’t Know” maintains its mainstream appeal without skimping on sophistication. It shows maturity in a similar way to that of Harry Styles’ solo work. Its structure even makes space for a guitar solo.
Perhaps the greatest appeal of the track is found within the vocal performance. With a melody spanning from B2 to C#5, Gamble gives himself the opportunity to showcase his talents. His timbre and use of dynamics are a part of his charisma, and this new song highlights his charm with bright colors. When he pushes, his voice’s personality shows. It generates a strong curiosity, much like the way Peter Liddle’s voice does.
Canadian singer/songwriter Dawson Gamble is a folk-pop prodigy on the rise. Inspired by modern-day titans of blues like Clapton and Mayer, he delivers radio-friendly tunes with classic sounds. A love for hip-hop and rap has shaped his lyricism and separates him from his peers. His new single is nothing short of a sign signaling more great music to come.
“What You Don’t Know” is an example of an offering from a musician with their finger on the pulse. Gamble is a bona fide, creative artist that also understands pop. His new song is fun; it teases that its creator warrants a second look and has lots more up his sleeve.
Written by Matt Kalicky