The sad song troubadour with a voice burrowing deep into an emotive state of mind returns in the mystique that is Daniel Romano and the vehicle of his latest album release IF I’VE ONLY ONE TIME ASKIN’. It’s a pure record paradoxically heavy on production, far from single driven and achingly formed for the vinyl event. The Canadian can come across as a curious character on stage, probably due to being someone totally engrossed in his music, which has that compass pointing in the right direction on a path to righteousness and once again blessed with the winning formula. Daniel is unequivocally and reassuringly country.
Many addictive plays of the disc reveal a record commendable from tracks one to eleven. Although that killer number like ‘Helen’s Restaurant’ from 2011’s SLEEP BENEATH THE WILLOW remains allusive, perhaps time and the live experience may ultimately crown a subsequent heir. In the meantime a trio of tracks in the latter part of the album make credible cases for peak spot without demeaning the effect of the entity. ‘There’s a Hardship’ is pure pain, ‘Learning to do Without Me’ is acute loss and the grainy intro to ‘Two Word Joe’ opens up into a splendid storytelling ditty. As you would expect from such a record, dreamy pedal steel leads the nostalgia evoking sound closely followed by accordion, piano and the odd horn input.
In an almost discard of contemporary evolution, fans of Gram Parsons will love every moan and groan from Daniel Romano as will those who have been totally smitten by the emergence of Cale Tyson over the past year. The release of the album on the prestigious New West Records label gives the record a solid platform to prosper and an enhanced opportunity to pierce into the roots market where folks are besotted by the infectious sounds of traditional country music. Of course such listeners savour lyrical majesty as well and Daniel is on the literary ball with ‘I get more happiness from a bottle/ And get more love from a stranger’ as he delivers the excellent ‘Old Fires Die’.
If you place suitable emphasis on the opening and closing tracks of an album then IF I’VE ONLY ONE TIME ASKIN’ won’t disappoint as ‘I’m Gonna Teach You’ with its almost orchestral appeal perfectly sets the tone and mood of a record consistent in ear piercing quality. Likewise the drifting sentiment of album closer, the appropriately titled ‘Let Me Sleep (At the End of the Dream)’, leaves Daniel’s creative mark, a talent which extends to other outlets for his artistic tendency including design. Although faint to detect on the track, further lauded association for the record is the vocal addition of Caitlin Rose on ‘Strange Faces’ which suggests the sphere of Daniel’s industry manoeuvres.
Radio airplay has supported this album in the run up to the release and the profile of Daniel in the UK has risen on the back of a couple of fairly low key tours to date with the untapped potential to float to grander scales. With the support of his backing band The Trilliums, it is a mouth-watering proposition to imagine the live airing of these focussed tracks. However rather than fast forwarding the appeal of IF I’VE ONLY ONE TIME ASKIN’ just concentrate on the accessible at the moment and immerse yourself in a sound that conjures up a delightful air of simplicity and provides warm affectionate music for that personal place of solace.