The Juno Award nominees were announced earlier this week and Welland’s Daniel Romano was nominated in the category “Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – Solo” for his album, Come Cry With Me. With a style that owes a good deal to the classic 1970s sounds of Gram Parsons and Lee Hazlewood, Romano has fully embraced the kind of authentic country music you don’t hear much any more. He has been compared to Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, and George Jones; in fact, he’s been heralded as one of the 6 Canadian artists helping to save country music:
Romano is not a neo-traditionalist in the traditional sense. He’s not trying to regale the modern ear with a new take on the classic country sound. Instead he is like the method actor of classic country, carving out his niche by offering a strict interpretation of classic country’s modes with striking accuracy. It’s not a retro sound, it is a strict, methodical re-enactment. Everything fits the period–the words, the instrumentation, the song structure, and it takes you back to a time when music still had meaning.
Like Townes Van Zandt before him, Romano sings down-and-out songs about tragedy, backwoods cabins, tall tales, and unfortunate circumstances; there are some humourous adventures as well. He does all this with a maturity of song-writing that isn’t often heard in today’s popular country music. Romano is also an accomplished leather-worker, graphic designer, and painter. In 2007, he founded You’ve Changed Records with Ian Kehoe of Attack in Black and Steve Lambke of the Constantines. Through that record label he has released four albums: Daniel, Fred & Julie (2009, with Frederick Squire and Julie Doiron, formerly of Eric’s Trip), Workin’ for the Music Man (2010), Sleep Beneath the Willow (2011), and Come Cry With Me (2013).
Daniel Romano calls himself the “King of Mosey.” His Facebook bio explains what that means…
“Mosey music is a study in contrasts. There’s glitz and grit, reveling and wallowing, wretchedness and showmanship. Mosey music’s pioneers wore their battered hearts on sequined sleeves. From Bakersfield to Galveston, the legends traded their tragicomic highs and lows for gold records and white Cadillacs. But that was then; the days of Buckaroos, Nudie Suits and various Hanks are over, save for the museum displays. To quote a George Jones title track, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?”
Enter Daniel Romano, a songwriter who delivers mosey croonin’ and hard luck storytelling. While references to marquee names like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard are apparent in Romano’s music, the obvious influences certainly don’t demystify his talent. Romano works with equal parts authenticity and creativity, and his musical world is rich with archetypes and archrivals, wry observations and earnest confessions.
Romano’s solo debut, Workin’ For The Music Man (2010) announced a new artistic bearing. The follow-up, Sleep Beneath The Willow, was pure honky tonk poetry, and again received impressive response from all corners. The “dreamy homage to a bygone country-music era” (Globe & Mail) made the Polaris Long List, and solidified Romano’s reputation as a solo artist.
Come Cry With Me furthers his Mosey aesthetic, musical and visual. Again self-produced and played, for the most part, by himself, Romano’s new album continues with themes of bad choices, hard times, boozing and losing. Amidst the tales of woebegone orphans, family knots and broken hearts, there are spoken word yarns that recall Hank Williams-as-Luke The Drifter. Romano’s deep rumbling baritone vocal dips serve, conversely, to lighten the mood, leaving no doubt that this artist knows how to deliver a punch line.
Come Cry With Me was released on Normaltown Records on January 22, 2013.”
The Juno Awards will be broadcast on Sunday 30 March from Winnipeg, Manitoba.