"This Guy's The Real Deal”
Kevin Daniel’s music career started when he was just five years old and singing Disney songs into a turkey baster turned microphone. A year later he was enrolled in music lessons, starting on piano and eventually picking up the sax, and by middle school was playing in state symphonic bands, touring with classical horn trios, and singing his heart out any chance he could get.
Ultimately Kevin found his place in the jazz and blues scene in high school and college, while also exploring his talents as a guitar player. By the time he graduated from George Washington University, Daniel had played in two quartets, four high school orchestras, two jazz and blue bands, one bluegrass band, one punk ska group, and even sang tenor in an acapella group. But it was his move to New York City in 2013, and a sudden and unexpected tragedy, that put him on the path towards his true destination.
That winter, during a dinner party in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Kevin received a phone call from his sister that would change everything. His mother and stepfather, adventure-seekers and amateur pilots, had been flying back from their mountain house in western North Carolina when their plane crashed, killing them both. Daniel’s life was turned upside down, his family torn apart and the world forever changed. During his return to his childhood home to help with family business, and while reliving his parent’s lives through photos, essays, and family stories, Kevin wrote over a dozen songs, all fueled by the grief of losing his parents as well as the celebration of the large lives they were known for. From those songs six were chosen to record, including one written specifically for his parent's memorial service.
The result of those recordings was FLY, Kevin Daniel’s inaugural EP. The project was recorded in 2014 and embodies the depth of Daniel’s emotions during a time of supreme distress. Southern sounds of banjo and country-loving three-part harmonies were backed by rock riffs and pop lyrics, which spoke true to life and the celebration of living.
In 2017, he released his second EP, Myself Through You, which was recorded at Degraw Sound in Brooklyn, NY, and produced, engineered, and mixed by Ben Rice. Featuring instrumentation as diverse as pedal steel guitar, flugelhorn, and bluegrass banjo, the songs on Myself Through You deliver sublime lamentations of the country-tinged Americana Daniel has created over the last few years. The EP’s title track is Daniel’s attempt to take a subjective look at his own life, “I often find myself trying to take a step back and see life from someone else’s eyes.”
In the years since, Daniel’s songs, the ones that thread his EPs have led him through a transformational period of self-discovery, the foundation for his debut album, Things I Don’t See. Flanked by an incendiary cast, including Will Bryant (organ/keys), Lee Falco (drums), and Brandon Morrison (bass) of Hudson Valley’s, The Restless Age, along with guitarist Jon LaDeau, from The National Reserve, new anthems, “City That Saves,” Time To Rise,” “Jupiter” and “Name of Fame" speak to where he’s been and where he’s going.
On his latest single, “Used to Be,” which was produced by Kenny Siegel, known for his work with Langhorne Slim, Joseph Arthur and Chris Whitley, the song’s twang-fueled, gospel-like revival recalls vintage Drive By Truckers. With rugged, open-hearted vocals by Daniel, the track ambles down the alt country highway, sizzling with slide and B3 in between the seams. Used is the follow-up to “Pour Me A Drink,” which credentialed industry vet, Jonathan Widran dubbed, “intensely soulful” while Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazineproclaimed, “a folky acoustic ode with some rock and roll brass."
As the back half of 2019 comes into focus, Daniel has his eyes on the horizon. With the refrain of "Pour me a drink as sweet as the sunset, as sweet as the day you were born,” Kevin will soldier on the path he loves the most, the open road.