Americana Roots: Dalton Domino

Americana Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US.  It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores.  From Lubbock, Texas is Dalton Domino who exists between the introspective, thoughtfulness of Connor Oberst and Bright Eyes and the dirt under the fingernails sound of country-lifers like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Guy Clark.

Name: Dalton Domino.

For Fans Of: Ray Wylie Hubbard, Guy Clark, Conner Oberst

Hometown: Lubbock, Texas, USA.


Discography:  ‘1806’ (2015), ‘Corners’ (2017), ‘Songs from the Exile’ (2019), ‘Feverdreamer’ (2020)

Background: “I picked up a guitar because I moved around a bunch as a kid,” explains singer-songwriter Dalton Domino.  “It was the only consistent thing I had.  An instrument and a song were the only things that made 100% total sense to me. There wasn’t ever really a starting point, it’s just something that has always been there.”  For Domino that has translated into his songwriting that falls between the introspective, thoughtfulness of Connor Oberst and Bright Eyes and the dirt under the fingernails sound of country-lifers like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Guy Clark.

Hubbard in particular has been an important inspiration for Domino who has at times struggled to find his place in the crowded Texas music scene.  He has long been recognized for his songwriting, but how to present that has at times been a challenge.  Early on he had the typical big-country stage show with two lead guitar players flanking him.  Recently he has incorporated a more stripped-down approach, working in keys and acoustic guitar.  Lately he has taken the stripped-down approach even further playing a house show tour with just him and his acoustic guitar to intimate crowds in living rooms.  This approach has seen a refocus on his music and has brought to life the power of his words.  Through all of that there was the sage advice of Hubbard.  “Ray Wylie Hubbard is the guy I always call when I need advice.  We met a few years ago when I was getting sober and grew really close.  He’s an incredible mentor whether it be in your personal life or as a songwriter.  I’m grateful for him,” says Domino.

With influences like Bright Eyes and Guy Clark, Domino’s music is reflective of the world around him and highly personal at times taking on topics of addiction, loss, and where do we go next. His music and songwriting has a chameleon-like ability to take on any number of guises, existing on multiple levels.  “Sometimes I want it loud and fast, sometimes I want it weird, sometimes I just want it stripped,” says Domino.  “There’s never really a time where I’m like, ‘I wanna make this’ and then plan to do that.  It’s just whatever mood I’m in.”

For Domino it’s the power in his words that drives his music, the ability to connect on an emotional level.  He explains, “Typically I like starting out with an opening line.  Then the groove.  After that the melodies seem to fall in place.  Then the lyrics.  But it’s not always the same.  It really depends on the song.  My advice is to just be honest.  If that’s how you feel, then that’s how you feel.  Pandering is for assholes.  Don’t do it.  Unless they pay you a whole lot.”

What he does live:

About Tim Newby 59 Articles
Author of books, writer of words, enjoyer of good times. Often found with a beer in hand and barefoot at a festival somewhere. Author of 'Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin' Sound & Its Legacy' (2015), 'Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! (2019). New book 'Pete Browning: The Life & Troubled Times of a Forgotten Legend' due out in 2023. Follow him on twitter @Tim_Newby9 .
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