It’s always nice when you “discover” a new artist whose music is right up your street and so it was with Kyle Daniel. Although pegged as a Country artist (he was scheduled to appear at the C2C Festival in the O2 Arena at the start of this year until Covid-19 reared its ugly head), I’d put him more in the sweet spot where Southern Rock and Country Rock converge.
And before you run away screaming towards a banjo & fiddle themed nightmare, I’m talking about the sort of songs you might hear sung by Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule) or Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke) or Chris Stapleton (one of the newer stars of the Country music scene). Indeed, I’ll stick my neck out and say that if you love “The Smoke”, you’ll like this guy too.
I was sent his self-titled 2018 debut EP to review and enjoyed it so much that I immediately started an online hunt for any other recordings; as luck would have it I found a sealed copy of his 2019 follow-up EP for only a couple of quid! And to think my wife considers the amount of time I spend online to be a waste… ;-)
Kyle hails from Bowling Green, Kentucky, but appears to have settled in the fertile music environment of Nashville, Tennessee, where both EP’s were recorded. Further biographical details seem to be in short supply, so we must hope that his profile continues to rise, so that we can find out more.
The debut EP opens with the radio friendly rocker ‘Hangover Town’, which immediately kick started the Blackberry Smoke comparisons in my head; if this song doesn’t get your feet tapping, then you may already be dead!
‘Keep On Rollin’ and ‘Halfway to Your Heart’ maintain the uptempo feel, but are separated by the slower ‘Ain’t No Difference’ on which Kyle is joined by Brent Cobb, whose own recordings (try ‘Providence Canyon’ for starters or maybe ‘Shine On Rainy Day’) are well worth checking out.
The disc closes with another slower song, ‘That Somebody Ain’t Me’, which features an uncredited female co-vocalist; pleasant, but a reprise or alternative mix of ‘Hangover Town’ was what I craved… so I went back to the beginning and played the whole disc over again!
The sophomore EP ‘What’s There To Say?’ is, if anything, even better; given that titles like ‘Born To Lose’ and ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ suggest that Kyle may have struggled with his personal demons, it’s heartening to think that hardship and adversity can still give rise to music of real quality. That description certainly fits the two radio friendly songs at the disc’s core; ‘Somewhere In Between’ is very good, but ‘God Bless America (Damn Rock ‘n Roll)’ is genuine “ear worm” material!
There should be some online audio of these songs available via the usual platforms, so treat yourself to a listen (especially if you’re convinced that you don’t like Country Rock; hell, even some of Skynyrd’s songs would have happily worn that moniker!) and if you get the chance to buy the discs, do it; they are unreservedly recommended.