Denny G's troubadour-esque, folk songs adapt ideas from rock, blues and country to fuse a songwriting style that honors the music of Jimmy Buffet and Bob Dylan, with a rich vocal texture that's reminiscent of Don Williams and Willie Nelson.
From the welcoming track -- the saucy, up-tempo "Kona Side" -- followed by Denny's musical tribute to the heroic Hawaiian surfer and lifeguard, Eddie Aikau, in "Eddie Would Go," Denny changes it up with "Blue Tarp Millionaire" and "Rich Man Blues" -- two bluesy commentaries on society's fixation on money. "Lili'uokalani," a beautiful homage to Hawaii's last monarch, connects the dots for those not familiar with Hawaiian history. "Hawai'i Calls" is a joyful reflection that shares Denny's first impressions of the Big Island. Denny next offers a father's loving guidance and wisdom in classic, folk song style with "Sittin' On a Rainbow." "The Mahu Song" is a light-hearted message about coming together as friends, despite society's tendency to promote fear-based behavior. Denny's "Bad Boyfriend Blues" is a song that offers catharsis when a breakup tries to drag you down. Denny G's slightly satirical "Aunty's High" relates a fictional Hawaiian style, backyard barbeque and love for one's 'ohana (family). "Kona Town" reflects a deep sense of appreciation for the beauty and the laid back lifestyle that's inevitable if you live in Kona, Hawai'i. "Stinkeye Blues" is a masterfully-crafted, smooth, bluesy, satirical heads-up about living in Hawai'i as a haole. Denny's country-folk song, "Love Makes Things Right," espouses the logical choice to finding peace and carrying a smiling heart. The last track, "Kalapana," is a romantic ode to a region of the Big Island where Denny was living in 1990 when it was destroyed by a lava flow. "Kalapana" has the flowing, soothing quality of a lullaby and sparkle of a jewel that will provide a gentle finish to your 'Daybreak' listening experience.
Produced by John Malcolm Smith -- a.k.a. "The Colonel" or "Johnny Sunshine" depending on his role at the time -- Daybreak was recorded and produced in Kona, Hawai'i. John met Denny G in 2007 while working for Kona's cable access facility. There, he filmed and produced a monthly show called "Big Island Speaks Out" for community television that served as way for anyone on the Big Island to have five minutes of airtime to share their ides and opinions with the community. Denny G became a popular and recurring feature of the show -- returning each month with two new songs, often appealing for fairness, preserving the beauty of Hawai'i and sharing his aloha. Daybreak was the logical next step after John left the station.
John approached the production of this album with the intention of preserving Denny G's natural delivery - which employs "tempo rubato," to achieve an organic, honest presentation that showcases the quality and flavor of Denny's talent as a singer and songwriter.
Johnny Sunshine added some spice to ten of the tracks - sometimes with lead guitar work; other times with high-strung guitar parts to complement Denny's playing. Most of the primary tracking was done on location at The Shire in Kona with additional tracks recorded later at Rock Garden in Captain Cook. The goal for recording the primary tracks was to faithfully capture inspired performances of Denny singing while accompanying himself with his guitar. Those became the foundational tracks for all of the songs. Later, Johnny Sunshine wrote and overdubbed his parts at Rock Garden -- adding fills and solos to accentuate the song structures and give the music added dimensionality. The result is a simple presentation where the listener doesn't have to fight to follow what's going on, but instead is able to appreciate the songs and feel the heart of the artist.