By Al Kaufman
Atlantan, by way of Florida, Dave Daniels has a cute little story in the liner notes of his CD. It seems he was arrested for jaywalking and when the jail guard asked him what type of music he played, he couldn't answer him. The angry guard locked him up for the night. Daniels ends his story with this line: "On this record, finally, I can answer him with just one word: American."
Daniels is a talented songwriter, but has chosen to write only four of the nine songs on this CD. This is because he is equally adept at interpreting works of others. With the crackling PTA (Part Time Association) backing him up, Daniels lets out his bluesy, percussive side on David Fountain's "Belly of the Beast." And he adds a light reggae touch to Florida indie songwriter Andy Matchett's "Too Much Happiness."
With a voice that falls somewhere between Graham Parker and Michael Stipe, Daniels is able to express sorrow and anger as easy as love, and he expresses them all here, especially on his own tracks. "Money's Worth," a catchy pop number that easily ties concerts and his girlfriend, will have listeners humming the chorus for weeks. "Man on the Street (Part Two)" offers a harder country edge. The lyrics are a little clunky as Daniels tries to get into the mind of Joe Six-Pack, but the driving organ, electric guitar and harmonica more than make up for them. "Lose Your Wings," the obligatory anti-war song, is not as heavy-handed as it has potential to be and benefits from Jeff Mosier's haunting banjo.
"Celementine" displays just how good a songwriter Daniels can be. His ode to his adopted state, the song plays like a Black Crowes blues ballad, with delicious lines like, "Georgia's hot in the middle of the week/She's kissing my back and rubbing my feet."
At age 25, Daniels has already been writing songs for 10years. His songs now are a lot better then when he was 15. By 35 he should be downright incredible.