Daniel Romano, State Champion, Dylan Earl | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Daniel Romano, State Champion, Dylan Earl Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., Aug. 30, 8 p.m. 2015

A singer from Welland, Ontario, Daniel Romano clearly adores several forms of classic country—whether from Nashville, Bakersfield, or San Antonio—but it only takes a couple of songs into his latest album, If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ (New West), to understand that there’s a lot more going on. With a sweet, twangy delivery that recalls Robbie Fulks, Romano opens up as the album progresses, casually folding in bits of folk-rock, soul, and even electronic music—and the blend never feels too calculated. Instead it suggests Romano doesn’t want to be a slave to any particular era of country; he allows any and all music he’s heard to bleed into his sound. What keeps him undeniably connected to country tradition is his skill at putting romantic disappointment, loneliness, and emotional pain into words. “I’m Gonna Teach You” opens with a swell of strings and quickly establishes itself as a classic ballad of heartbreak before the deranged narrator lets rage swell into the threat of violence. The track fades into a brittle bass pattern that’s set amid moody violins—an evolving interstitial snippet that segues between all 11 songs—before Romano addresses a breakup with less aggression but similar pain as he sings, “’Cause I get more happiness from a bottle / And get more love from a stranger.” Almost every song that follows depicts the detritus of failed love, but rather than become predictable, the lyrics keep stinging in ever-changing ways.

Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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