The new song from multi-instrumentalist Kevin Daniel is all about his excellent vocal performance. On ‘Happy for a While’, Daniel’s voice is full of soul and character. His impressive range and style is buoyed by excellent backing and vocal harmonies. From the opening, focused just on Daniel’s vocals, ‘Happy for a While’ is an immediately absorbing song. Aside from the strong percussion, the instrumentation is subtle for the first couple of minutes before bursting into life just as Daniel’s voice soars – the way the song is constructed superbly, building to a climax with retro horns and a memorable melody.
The song is all about life as a touring performer and the uncertainties of devoting yourself to a career in music. It takes sacrifice and resilience and it can be hard knowing that you’re always moving on from the human connections you make. Daniel explains: “I think loneliness is an inherent part of being on the road and being an artist in general. You’re in your head a lot. I moved to Nashville but haven’t spent much time here because I’m always playing shows. You meet people at shows but knowing you’re in the van again the next morning on your way to the next town makes those relationships fleeting. This song is sad as hell, and I get a few laughs when people hear it because it’s so straightforward about what I’m feeling. I really am scared the way I live my life in pursuit of music is getting in the way of me making a different kind of life I always wanted — a family, a partner, and stability. I know you can have both, and I’ve seen it work with others, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about constantly going against the grain. That being said, at this point in my life, nothing is more important to me than making music, and I make all kinds of sacrifices for it.”
This is from ‘The Life & Adventures of Kevin Daniel’, his first release on Organic Records and a fine follow-up to the acclaimed ‘Been Here Before’, which is also worth checking out. The new record is, indeed, a kind of diary, chronicling the adventurous life of a touring musician. The lyrics are personal and all the more impactful for it. Now based in Nashville, Daniel tours relentlessly, sometimes accompanied by a band but always by a dog. And the dog that stars in this video happens to be identical to my own adorable little friend, which meant I was sold on this video immediately. Enjoy.