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DANIEL ROMANO - Sleep Beneath the Willow

Daniel Romano is back with Sleep Beneath the Willow, his second album in less than a year. It's been out for well over a month, but just because it’s taken us a little while to get around to writing about it doesn’t mean we’re any less enamoured with it. Quite the opposite in fact—Sleep Beneath the Willow is front-to-back one of this year’s most arresting records.

It was only last June that the Welland, ON native put out his debut Working for the Music Man (through his own label, You’ve Changed Records, which has quickly earned a reputation for quality). It's actually quite alarming how far Daniel has come in such a short amount of time between releases. As great as ...Music Man was, at times it relied too heavily on traditional material. This time around, Romano has really stepped up his songwriting, hitting every single song out of the park. His voice has also matured—take a listen to something off 2009's Daniel, Fred & Julie and compare it to the new album's leadoff track "Time (Forgot to Change My Heart)". He's Dallas Good, Leonard Cohen and Aaron Riches wraped into one, and with backing vocals provided by three very talented singers in their own right (Lisa Bozikovic, Tamara Lindeman of The Weather Station, and Misha Bower of Bruce Peninsula, making her second appearance), some songs could easily pass for Gram Parsons.

Yes, the music shares a lot with the country greats of the past, but it’s something that should be celebrated, not disregarded. Sure, the sound he helped develop in his old band Attack in Black was far more original, but the songs he is writing today feel timeless.

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