The Dunn Boys

Article Published: May. 12, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
The Dunn Boys

Name a front man for a popular band that would take time off of his busy schedule to return home and start a band with his dad and little brothers.

Figured it out yet? I didn't think so. That's because Jason Dunn is probably the only guy who's ever done it.

Jason Dunn is the lead singer for Hawk Nelson, a favorite band in the Christian rock circle. Preoccupied with recording, touring and collecting awards since his band hit the scene in 2003, Dunn was left little time spend with his family. When he was finally able to return home to Ontario for a visit in 2008, Dunn found his younger brothers eager to perform with him.

Impressed by his siblings, and having enjoyed playing with them, Dunn decided to take them on as a side project. With his father, Paul, and brothers Jacob and Josiah, Jason Dunn formed The Dunn Boys.

The Dunn Boys released their debut album, "Volume 1," in March.

Unlike Jason Dunn's primary group, Hawk Nelson, The Dunn Boys do not play Christian rock. Instead, their music is a celebration of their Canadian and Irish heritage. It might best be defined as Celtic punk folk rock. Drawing influence from bands like The Pogues and Flogging Molly, The Dunn Boys is grand diversion from Jason Dunn's usual fare.

For the best explanation of the basis of The Dunn Boys' music, one need only listen to "Brian Moore." It's a toast to a man who sailed on a ship named St. Jerome from Dublin, Ireland, to Nova Scotia in 1894. The Dunn Boys sing that "if it weren't for Brian Moore, wouldn't know ya."

In line with "Brian Moore," "Volume 1" is full of anthemic odes to The Dunn Boys' ancestry. Although from Ontario, the family appears to have a love affair with "Nova Scotia." They revel in chants of "N-O-V-A, Nova Scotia!" and mention the province in several of the songs. They do not forsake Ontario though, singing of an area closer to home in "Norland."

Love stories, war laments and historical tales amounting to The Dunn Boys' existence are the focus of "Volume 1." Nearly all of the songs have a connection to either their Irish or Canadian origins.

At about 30 minutes, most of "Volume 1" highlights the areas in which The Dunn Boys excel: Short, punchy jigs and concise storytelling. Where The Dunn Boys falter somewhat are with the couple of longer, ballad-like numbers, which seem out of place with the other songs of "Volume 1." For example, "Lullaby" is an attractive song, but would probably be more appropriate for Jason Dunn's other band, Hawk Nelson.

For the most part, "Volume 1" is a party of an album. The album has an enjoyable youthful vigor that most anyone will enjoy. Fans of Irish-styled music and themes will appreciate The Dunn Boys. Canadians, even those who are not of Irish descent, will be definitely be amused.
The Dunns obviously relished in their time together recording "Volume 1." The family atmosphere that must have existed in the studio comes through in the music.

Before setting off to pursue his career with Hawk Nelson, Jason Dunn's biggest bond with his family was a love of hockey. Years later, they all still love hockey, but now that his brothers are older and have been inspired by Jason's success, they can connect over music.

Jason said, "We're a bunch of wannabe hockey players turned into wannabe musicians." Though Jason has already accomplished the feat, "Volume 1" makes it clear that he's happy to help the other Dunn Boys out in their move from wannabes to actually being musicians.

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