Classic country music, the stuff of AM radio and the Grand Ole Opry, is a study in contrasts. There's glitz and grit, reveling and wallowing, wretchedness and showmanship. Country music's greats wore their battered hearts on sequined sleeves. From Bakersfield to Galveston, the legends traded their tragicomic highs and lows for gold records and white Cadillacs. But that was then; the days of Buckaroos, Nudie Suits and various Hanks are over, save for the museum displays. To quote a George Jones title track, "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?"
Enter Daniel Romano, a songwriter who channels country crooning and hard luck storytelling with cinematic fidelity. While references to marquee names like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard are apparent in Romano's music, the obvious influences certainly don't demystify his talent. His take on the golden age of country music is much more than a revivalist mission; Romano works with equal parts authenticity and creativity, and his musical world is rich with archetypes and archrivals, wry observations and earnest confessions.
Romano's solo debut, Workin' For The Music Man (2010), announced a new artistic bearing to emphatic critical praise: "his singular vision of what classic country music is supposed to sound like" (Exclaim!). The follow-up, Sleep Beneath The Willow, was pure honky tonk poetry, and again received impressive response from all corners. The "dreamy homage to a bygone country-music era" (Globe & Mail) made the Polaris Long List, and solidified Romano's reputation as a solo artist.
Come Cry With Me carries on with the traditional country aesthetic, musical and visual. Again self-produced and played, for the most part, by himself, Romano's new album continues with themes of bad choices, hard times, boozing and losing. Amidst the tales of woebegone orphans, family knots and broken hearts, there are spoken word yarns that recall Hank Williams-as-Luke The Drifter. Romano's deep rumbling baritone vocal dips serve, conversely, to lighten the mood, leaving no doubt that this artist knows how to deliver a punch line.
He is a contributing producer and touring member of the platinum-selling City and Colour, and also, one-third of the indie folk traditionalists Daniel, Fred & Julie. As well, Romano produced a breakout album by The Weather Station, out on You've Changed Records, which he co-founded.
Come Cry With Me was released on Normaltown Records on January 22, 2013.