If I've Only One Time Askin'

Daniel Romano

New West Records, 2015


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The Canadian multi-instrumentalist and former punk musician continues with seemingly traditional country music on his fourth solo album. Relying on an aching pedal steel guitar and soft strings, If I've Only One Time Askin' places Romano in front of balladry where plaintive tones are as present as dusty atmospheres.

Drawing comparisons to Robbie Fulks, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard, Romano takes cues from the '60s and '70s across the album, and while Romano is still a youngster by most standards, his music emanates from an old soul with much heartache to sort through. Opener “I’m Gonna Teach You” starts off with an orchestral and cinematic feel before moving into a quiet, piano ballad that aches and moves with a classic feel. “Old Fires Die” follows and is more subdued, as Romano confesses intimate details with an equally intimate sound. “Strange Faces” picks up the pace into modern folk-rock meets timeless country, and leaves an impression of somberness and boundless talent. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In the middle, “All The Way Under The Hill” is a romantic, slow burner with crying pedal steel and strong vocal work from Romano, and the title track, one of the best moments on the album, showcases Romano’s skills as both a singer and intricate songwriter. “The One That Got Away (Came Back Today)” brings in horns and retro feelings, and it stands as the best of the ballads here.

Near the end, “Two Word Joe” brings back the twang of Romano’s earlier work, and his cover of George Jones’s “Learning To Do Without Me” puts a modern twist on a country classic. The album exits on “Let Me Sleep (At The End of The Dream),” an ideal tune for slumber’s grasp with elegant strings and soothing guitars.

Romano would go on to release two albums in 2016, one of which (Ancient Shapes) steers right into proto-punk sounds, further illustrating Romano’s diverse abilities. Though Romano can play many instruments, here his baritone pipes are at the forefront, along with the lush piano work. The album digests best taken as a whole, as the songs flow in and out each other, piecing together stories of broken hearts, jilted lovers, and betrayal.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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