HEADING FOR COUNTRY
Daniel's first release for 2007, HEADING FOR COUNTRY is the musician's ninth solo release and part of a growing discography that includes work with band kidameln and contributions to two intrepid, imaginative releases by ELECPHONIC. Fresh from immersing himself in these various projects, Daniel has returned to his independent singer/songwriter roots with HEADING FOR COUNTRY.
Following on from BOOTLEGGED AT THE 12 BAR CLUB, Daniel's second release for 2006 after the trenchant OP-ED: Environmental / Social / Political, HEADING FOR COUNTRY delves quietly into the musical geography of ‘country' as a genre without – thankfully – falling victim to cliché or revere.
HEADING FOR COUNTRY is more personal than the incisive, politically inspired OP-ED. Daniel traverses the more subtle nuances of love and loss in tracks such as ‘Sorry To Say', ‘Lazy Sundays' and ‘Sadly Don't Think So', while touching on death in ‘Tiny Lights'. Conversely, ‘Move Along Now' and ‘Talk Yourself Up' provide some upbeat counterpoints, particularly via a galloping harmonica throughout the latter track.
Overall, HEADING FOR COUNTRY is more lyrically melancholic and, in some ways, regretful than former albums, but this suits the overt ‘country-fication' of the melodies. Though venturing into an often-vapid musical style, Daniel manages to retain his innate sincerity and truth through lyrical inflection, which breaths life into the riffs and bridges.
A previous reviewer comment (associated with an earlier album) noted, "…each song's arrangement maintains a minimalist nature, which shows a discipline and a depth of understanding on Gannaway's part". Perhaps unsurprisingly, this observation remains true in the context of HEADING FOR COUNTRY.
Daniel has reinforced his musical adventurousness with this latest album and, in the process, shown his ability to turn his hand masterfully to a wide array of genres.
Since the release of FINE BY ME in 1998, Daniel has been a strident proponent of independent music. As time and albums have passed, Daniel's music has stylistically ebbed and flowed – at one point pared back and raw, at another full-bodied and polished, but at all times potent and inspired. Bound and Suburban in 2001, for example, was a composition of stories and recollections that provided a beautiful counterpoint to the poignant simplicity of Bootlegged at the Temple, recorded the previous year. Daniel's 2004 release – darling one year – was perhaps his most musically confident effort, traversing a broad range of personal experiences and heart-felt issues, wrapped in some truly quixotic melodies. 2005's SUMMER STORM | a collection of ukulele ditties, on the other hand, was a wonderfully light composition which often belied the intensity of the lyrical content.
Daniel's most recent album, HEADING FOR COUNTRY, continues this tradition and marks another waypoint on what has become a musical odyssey spanning more than a decade.
"... Perhaps politics might actually catch on if Gannaway were doing the singing [OP-ED], instead of John Ashcroft's barbershop quartet. It's a thought. But until the Republican or Democratic National Convention is converted into a Broadway musical, we'll have to make do with Daniel. And that's going to be just fine for fans of indie folk pop with a message." - Indie-Music
"...The great aspect of the album [SUMMER STORM] is that each song's arrangement maintains a minimalistic nature, which shows a discipline and a depth of understanding on Gannaway's part. Underneath the ukulele, the cruising drums and harmonic supporting bass grooves provide an all around easy and easily recommendable listen..." - NZ Musician Magazine
"...Down to earth and laid back, it has none of the musical tension of trying too hard or the injection of false emotions. Suburban folky and bohemian chic, it [darling one year] ties up agreeably layered and distorted vocals into an angst-ridden, quirky pop as catchy as The Strokes but easily as mysteriously engaging as James Keenan Maynard..." - Indie-Music
"...like [Bound and Suburban] walking alone on the beach at night and seeing Jim Morrison and Jeff Buckley strumming and singing at the water’s edge..." - Indie-Music
"...Herein lies the essence of Bootlegged at the Temple: simply an audience, a musician, and a quiet venue... - no hype... In context with Daniel's previous two albums - FINE BY ME and flashback* - and subsequent release 'Bound and Suburban', 'Bootlegged' is a departure, which provides the listener a greater perspective on all of his work. Bootlegged is a great live album, which, over time, becomes as much a voyage of discovery and inspiration for the listener as for the musician himself." - Justin Walsh
Review of HEADING FOR COUNTRY @ The Log Book
With his last EP, Summer Storm, Daniel Gannaway experimented with the ukulele as a dominant sound in his music; in a similar vein, his latest effort, Heading For Country, tries on some country shoes. This time the experiment isn’t so much with a specific instrument, but with some of the stylistic licks of American country music. Whatever he’s trying out sonically, it’s a credit to Gannaway’s musicianship and his ability as a songwriter that it never sounds anything less than genuine.
But with his background in folk rock, Gannaway feels like he’s edging toward home turf here, rather than stretching the envelope in an unexpected way. There might be a wistful harmonica here and there, or just a hint of a country “twang”, but it’s not much of a culture shock to those of us accustomed to his folkier style.
The highlights of the six-song EP are the two middle tracks, “Talk Yourself Up” and “Tiny Lights”. The former is a jaunty, positive little number, while the latter is a somber meditation on mortality. The first time I heard “Tiny Lights”, I earmarked it as being interesting for its melody; the next time I listened to it, I had just gone through an eight-day period which began with the birth of my son and ended with having to humanely put down a horse I’d had for nearly ten years. The lyrics jumped out at me on this second listen, and it’s a Gannaway classic right up there with “Chain”. Even if I can’t convince you that you’ll like the music, I’ll put it this way: any CD on which a song as good as “Tiny Lights” takes up 1/6 of the running time is great value for the money.
Not that any of the songs on here are anything to skip, mind you. Heading For Country makes it sound like Daniel Gannaway’s heading into untested territory, but for those of us who’ve been listening for a while, it’s more like a welcome homecoming. Very highly recommended.
Albums by kiwi [NZ] indie singer/songwriter Daniel Gannaway:
2008 - JOINED LIKE NOTES
2007 - HEADING FOR COUNTRY
2006 - OP-ED: Environmental / Social / Political
2005 - SUMMER STORM | A collection of ukulele ditties
2004 - darling one year
2002 - BOOTLEGGED AT THE 12 BAR CLUB [released 2006]
2001 - Bound and Suburban
2000 - Bootlegged at the Temple
1999 - flashback*
1998 - FINE BY ME
More truly independent releases:
2008 - ELECPHONIC: TRIPLEPHONIC
2007 - ELECPHONIC: SOPHOMOREPHONIC
2006 - ELECPHONIC: ELECPHONIC
2004 - kidameln - the kidameln lo-fi
truly independent has kidameln's debut & Daniel's first 3 albums in the CD Baby $5 Specials!
truly independent recommends a newly recovered live gem of Daniel:
BOOTLEGGED AT THE 12 BAR CLUB
[11 Songs - Solo Acoustic - London - April 2002]
Recorded live in an intimate little venue in the centre of London – the 12 Bar Club – Daniel’s vocal range and delicate guitar, sometimes complimented by harmonica, are collected surprisingly well and make for a beautifully meandering compilation.
OP-ED: Environmental / Social / Political
"Documenting many of Daniel's previously unrecorded songs of environmental, social and political importance, OP-ED is an inspired compilation of acoustic material on guitar and ukulele - all recorded in Hawaii during February of 2006."
SUMMER STORM | A collection of ukulele ditties
"Written and recorded in Hawaii and New Zealand, Summer Storm - Daniel's sixth solo outing - references laidback island life with the ukulele's nylon strings, while wrapping it up in the kind of dynamic folk/indie-rock/electronic feel..."
"...like Gannaway's home country, this music [SUMMER STORM] is an exotic, faraway place in relationship to the rest of the overall modern musical landscape. Nevertheless, these unique Gannaway sounds offer a pleasant getaway" - Indie-Music.
"...The great aspect of the album [SUMMER STORM] is that each song's arrangement maintains a minimalistic nature, which shows a discipline and a depth of understanding on Gannaway's part. Underneath the ukelele, the cruising drums and harmonic supporting bass grooves provide an all around easy and easily recommendable listen..." - NZ Musician Magazine
darling one year
"...A perfect blend of lyrics, emotion and rhythm...If your looking for some refreshing new music for the soul, I whole-heartedly recommend darling one year as a must have for your collection." - AllAboutSurf.com
"...Down to earth and laid back, it has none of the musical tension of trying too hard or the injection of false emotions. Suburban folky and bohemian chic, it [darling one year] ties up agreeably layered and distorted vocals into an angst-ridden, quirky pop as catchy as The Strokes but easily as mysteriously engaging as James Keenan Maynard..." - Indie-Music.com
Daniel's music is available from such online digital providers as: CD Baby; SNOCAP; Mp3tunes; AudioLunchbox; Apple iTunes Music Store; Rhapsody; Napster; BuyMusic; Emusic; Sony Connect...
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