Daniel, Fred & Julie – [Album]

Wednesday, 03 March 2010

In the last century, the processes of making and capturing music for the purposes sharing the moment with others has been torn apart and rebuilt so often that, were someone from the dawn of record making transported to the present day, they wouldn't even know where to start. Even in the 1950s and '60s, the act of setting up a single microphone and capturing a band literally live off the floor was the norm; it has only been within the last fifty or sixty years that things began to evolve and get more complicated.

While those old ideas may seen a little quaint and dubious now, just because something is old doesn't mean it should be thrown away. It was those old ideas and processes of capturing audio that ultimately yielded Daniel, Fred & Julie's self-titled debut – a record that is as much a vintage field recording as it is a modern album.

The process for creating Daniel, Fred & Julie went about like this: A tape machine was set up in Shotgun Jimmie guitarist Fred Squires' garage. A microphone was placed on the floor in front of a semi-circle of folding chairs. On those chairs say Squires, Attack In Black singer Daniel Romano and Eric's Trip/Mount Eerie/Wooden Stars alumnus Julie Doiron. They had some songs they wanted to record (most of which were public domain material, two of which are new compositions from Romano) and they had a couple of days. Arrangements, harmonies and lyrics were hammered out. Fred and Daniel played guitar, all three sang. They hit record on the tape machine and this monophonic album is the result.

In this record lies the implication that all of the developments and achievements made in recording technology over the last hundred years really only amount to superfluous tree trimming; a good song is a good song and an affecting, heartfelt performance of it is all that's really required to capture a listener's imagination. Romano, Squires and Doiron prove that, and they do it from the very beginning of “The Gambler And His Bride.” From that beginning, these three singers cast a very different template from any other currently utilized in modern rock. With no assistance other than their own voices and hands with which to play, they revisit genuinely timeless fare that has been important to current music but has gone largely unsung for ages. They breathe new life into these lost artifacts and draw in the connecting lines through music history (if you've ever wondered where the inspiration for “Gallows Pole” by Led Zeppelin probably came from, check out “No On Knew My Name,” for example) while also betraying a whole lot of character as the performances were obviously done with love. Almost always singing in chorus, songs like “Down By The Weeping Willow,” “Bonny Black Bess” and “Runner” all find romance and beauty between the three voices singing, and much-loved and universally-known songs like “Clementine” are the sorts of things will make even the most muscular knees get weak because they've gone unheard for so long that they were near forgotten. Their placement here is a heartfelt, much-needed reminder.

So was this album a one-off? No one has really mentioned the possibility of continued releases yet, but the performances and overall aesthetic here are just too delicious to not hope for more.



Daniel, Fred & Julie – "The Gambler and His Bride"

Daniel, Fred & Julie
's self-titled debut is out now and available as a Canadian import on Amazon. Buy it here .

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