Jesse Daniel “Countin’ The Miles”

Independent, 2024

Country in the Merle Haggard tradition played and sung with passion and panache.

The opening song and lead single ‘Comin’ Apart At The Seams’ sets the tone for Jesse Daniel’s new album. The chorus: “This old world goes ‘round, and it won’t show you how. To earn what you need if you got a hungry mouth to feed. Get up on your feet, take your troubles to the street. Pick yourself up if you’re comin’ apart at the seams,” ticks most of the country music lyrical cliches in 4 lines. Sung over a pedal steel and a spiky guitar line this is what most people would picture if asked to describe a country song. Following that up with a song called ‘That’s My Kind Of Country’ suggests Daniel know his audience and is playing to it.

His press describes him as bringing “a gritty punk intensity into his brand of the Bakersfield sound.” The Rock & Roll influences that the “Bakersfield” implies are all over the album. Daniels says that this album is intended “showcase all the things I love about country music.” And it does just that. By drawing on the elements of the classic country sound and approach to a tune and its words he has created an album that touches the heart of what country music fand love about their genre.

The songwriting is respectful of the traditions of country but injects reflections on his own life and times. ‘Tomorrow’s Good Ol’ Days’ featuring Ben, son of Merle, Haggard covers nostalgia, concern about big business, conflict, and technology.

This is his first self-produced album and if there’s a criticism it’s that the sound and tempo doesn’t vary much across the album. Another hand on the faders might have introduced a little lighter and shade into the sound. But one of the key points about country is of course that you know what you’re getting when you press play.

Daniel is clearly looking forward to taking his songs on the road and wants to bring the message of country to anyone and everyone. “Our goal is to always give people the rowdiest, most fun show that they’ve ever been to, and to create a space where they can have a good time and escape from everything. It doesn’t matter if you’re a redneck from the sticks or a city guy who works a tech job—you’re in this room with us, so that means you’re a country fan.”

Described elsewhere as a “modern honky tonk legend” Jesse Daniel knows how to hit the musical touch points that his audience are looking for. He has the back story that all good country artists need in self-destructive behaviour and redemption through his music. If living the country music life counts for anything then Jesse Daniels is the real deal.

7/10
7/10

About Tim Martin 254 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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