The year: 2016. While many thousands are rewriting 20th century classics (blatantly or otherwise), some artists aspire to look forward. For an example of this underground breed of artist, we go deep into a home-recording studio in Fenwick, Ontario. Away from the bustling city and the ‘Music Man’ he grew tired of years ago, this location seems an unlikely place to find an artist ahead of, or at the very least, distinctly of his time. But the artist in question is Daniel Romano, and Daniel Romano has never been one to do what others feel he is supposed to, or be (either physically or artistically) where he should be.
Romano always does what he wants, shifting shapes and changing hats. To call him a chameleon would be a mischaracterization, for he does not change to blend in. Daniel Romano changes in order to find his voice, his true self, and to perfect his chosen craft. He is a creature who does not put himself into boxes, so he explores a multitude of styles and art forms, letting each one colour and inform his first (and perhaps most natural state): the songwriter.
The black and white photo of the artist in question, looking eerily similar to a certain songwriter that defined the century past, doesn’t prepare you for the sounds of Mosey, but the attitude is there, staring right back at you. On the surface, these songs are not political. Still, the very act of writing this well–both the distinct musical arrangements and his potent, poetic words–is certainly an act of protest. Protest against mediocrity and stagnation in music, culture and everyday life. When “Gone Is All But A Quarry Of Stone”, there is no beauty for anyone; the artist in question mines this beauty almost exclusively with his own two hands and the product he has created is certainly beautiful.
We are lucky that, as an artist, Daniel Romano refuses to look back. While many of his past-punk peers are rehashing songs and starting up old bands again, he keeps propelling himself forward. Make no mistake, this is not the safest line to run, but the artist in question knows that “Hunger Is A Dream You Die In”. If he does not move forward, he sings like a slave for the faceless cowards pulling the strings, trying to squeeze the last dollar out of a dying (probably already dead) industry. Mosey is not a country album, a folk album, or a rock album, but a eulogy to those genres that have become gross silhouettes of their former selves. Fortunately for us, as long as Romano has a melody and few things to say about you and me, these traditions will not die. The artist in question has done justice to past troubadours and has outdone anything that he has ever done before by pushing forward and refusing to be pinned down like so many other beautiful things prior to him. No question about it; Romano is a truly original artist, and he don’t look back.
Originally posted on Quick Before It Melts 23 May 2016
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