LP Review: Daniel Romano, “Come Cry With Me”

Daniel Romano - Come Cry With Me (2013). LP review by Scott Fraser

Come Cry with Me, by Daniel Romano (2013, Available on LP and CD)

This was a new one to me. I was taken by surprise when I received this as a Christmas gift. My good friend, who knows me well, implored “don’t judge it brised it’s by a man not yet thirty years old, from Welland, Ontario. Hmmmm. A country music purist from the Niagara Region along the Great Lakes. By some means or other, DR was riveted after he heard George Jones as a young man.

There’s more than just the look of the album to bring back memories of classic country music here. You’re fooled in the beginning, thinking his voice isn’t that strong, but the more you listen, you realize that’s not true. It’s more his vocal inflection he gives to his songs. I’m not talking twang, it’s more a cryin’ in your beer kind of sadness.

You know how you know when it’s Willie Nelson singing; well, Daniel Romano, although not as distinct, you will know his voice. Most of the songs are sad stories, but stories you want to hear. The accompaniment is sparse in areas, but is there when needed. I’d rather have the fiddle used where needed than have the Floyd Cramer piano sounding the same on every record, as Nashville was wont to do.

The songs are all well-crafted, in the Hank Williams tradition. You look at the second song title, “Two Pillow Sleeper”, and you’ve gotta hang on to hear what it means. He pulls some notes out of the basement on this one. All the songs on side one, have titles you’d swear you’ve seen before, but they’re all his. There are some sweet harmonies, pedal steel and of course the gentle strums of six strings. Then there’s his sense of humour. It took a few plays before it hit me; Lucinda Williams and he have drank from the same well. The last song on the A side, ” He Lets Her Memory Go”, has him reaching some notes so low, you’ll stop dead. Side two’s opener “Chicken Bill” has the type of cadence and humour as Lucinda Williams’ “Hot Blood”. The next cut, “When I Was Abroad” will have you wondering if it’s a double entendre.

The LP is nice and chunky vinyl and although it doesn’t say, I think it’s 180 gram. It was a clean pressing without ticks and as quiet as the audiophile offerings. New West Records is the label (their website is well worth a visit too. Ed.). Daniel did the recording and shares the mixing with Dan Weston. Credit should go to Joe Lambert for the mastering. This how modern recordings should sound. Done with a light touch and gets out of the way for the music. It could’ve had a wider dynamic range, but I’m a stickler for such details. It certainly never stopped my foot from tapping along. A solid 3.5 stars (out of 5) for sonics.

Some have questioned whether he’s sincere, or if it’s a parody. You’ll know he’s serious if you listen. As I was warned, don’t judge an album by its cover. Not every guy in a Nudie Suit and a “Boss of the Plains” hat is having you on. If you’re partial to some well-crafted songs that harken back to when it was called “Country and Western” music, you’ll be rewarded by adding this to your collection.

Scott Fraser

 


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