Monday, December 19, 2011

Sleep Beneath the Willow - Daniel Romano (2011 Honorable Mentions)

Sleep Beneath the Willow

Daniel Romano
You’ve Changed Records.

There aren’t many songwriters thriving in Canada’s independent scene who cite Conway Twitty as a major inspiration, but that’s just one of countless reasons Daniel Romano is so irreplaceable. Every project Romano has worked on this year – he’s kept himself very busy – wields a freshness and honesty that couldn’t be manufactured, and Sleep Beneath the Willow follows that mantra to a tee.

A country record that thrives on deep cuts, Romano laments heartbreak and redemption over burly guitar, bittersweet pedal steel and distant chorals. The subdued ‘Knowing That You’re Mine’ and ‘I Won’t Let It’ likely won't stick out in your mind on the first spin, but they’re the glue that makes Sleep Beneath the Willow so authentically dour. And thankfully, Romano spreads those warm but harsh songs around should-be classics like ‘Hard On You’ and ‘There Are Lines In My Face’. Somehow, inexplicably, songwriting of this caliber has yet to catapult Romano up the international country scaffolding but rest assured: a song like ‘Time Forgot (to Change My Heart)’ can’t stay hidden forever. And Sleep Beneath the Willow, I truly believe, will find a larger following in the years to come.

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