Daniel Byrnes Band's Sophomore Album a Tuneful Blend of Style
By: Sam Houghton, August 22, 2012
The Daniel Byrnes Band, a five-piece soul band that has won the hearts of Upper Cape music lovers over the years, has a new song to sing.
The band's second full-length album, A New Song to Sing, spans the spectrum of genres, from the country twang of “Don't Wait,” the smooth soul ring of “Camels and Coffee,” to the grunge-like quality of “Minds Not Mine.”
“I'm happy with the product,” says guitarist and voice of the band, Daniel Byrnes. “It was a long process, but it's out and that's exciting.”
After nearly two years in production freshly over, the singer's voice has an undertone of satisfied relief.
Byrnes' vocals demonstrate powerful subtleties on the album's 10 tracks. While many soul singers make their mark as booming or raspy bellowers, Byrnes approaches soul with a soft and mellow tone. It is a unique stamp that has won over an audience here on the Cape and could do very well elsewhere.
At some points on the album, though, his voice seems to get lost in the music. With a powerful, big band feel on “Let Me Go,” a great Southern rock song, the vocals could use a volume boost to be heard over the instruments.
Most of the songs on the album, work out well. Take “Camels and Coffee,” a Motown-type soul number in which Byrnes delivers a cool combination of folk and R&B that has become his trademark style. Despite his softer mood, his voice is full and warming.
On “Satisfied,” Byrnes sings, You know I'd walk for miles/ But I'd stand still for days/ Just to feel you by my side. While lyrics like these are well put together in terms of flow and cadence, their simplicity does not always match up with the modern feel and high quality of musicianship.
The rest of the band—Rich Hill on bass, Colin Bradley on organ and piano, Aaron Nickerson on drums, and Hanwar Harnett on sax—complement Byrnes' singing with a vintage, soul feel.
“The process was definitely a collaboration,” Byrnes says. “Everyone had good ideas.” For the most part, he said, each musician wrote his own part.
Much of the inspiration for the album's soul vibe came from producer Jack Younger at Watch City Studios. Byrnes says he had liked what the producer had done in the past with the band's single “Satisfied,” and that collaboration spawned the desire to put out an entire album.
Younger’s influence can be heard in the nuances, such as the horn-heavy “Outside of Nowhere,” an excellent, upbeat and funky number.
The Daniel Byrnes Band plays every Thursday night at the British Beer Company in Falmouth and frequently at the BBC in Sandwich, where fans can purchase the album. The band has put out 100 copies of the CD—of which they only have a handful left—in order to finance an upgraded album with artwork and distribution.