Daniel Romano's reverence for vintage country music is evident in the album art to his latest release, which features Romano wearing a Rhinestone outfit and graphics that recall some of Porter Wagoners 1960s album covers. The influence of Gram Parsons is strong on such tunes as Middle Child
, the sad tale of a boy given up for adoption ("You sent me off and then you went and had my brothers/Before me, a little girl/And they're the center of your world/Mama tell my why'd you leave the middle child?") and Two Pillow Sleeper, a tear-jerker about lost love ("But when I come home to the bed where we both used to lay/I know I'll never rest easy 'till I sleep in my grave").
The up-tempo Chicken Bill is delivered in a monologue style reminiscent of Johnny Cash's A Boy Named Sue and seems at first to be comical with references to "Catching chickens, chopping their heads off" as the narrator tells of his working for a farmer and his wife, but takes an ominous turn with the final lines "He sat down beside me, all nervous and shy/And he told me the real story of Chicken Bill." The following track When I Was Abroad appears to be the companion piece that fills in the story, beginning with female voices asking "What'd he say?" and the singer proceeding with "He said" and telling the story of a man who decides to leave his wife ("So I'm telling my wife that I miss my old life/and I'm working on changing it back").
I'm Not Crying Over You takes the opposite approach of Johnny Russell's Act Naturally where an actor uses his role to mask his pain ("I got a role in some romantic movie/A broken-hearted man unlike myself/Well it's hard for me to relate/So I practice night and day/And that's why I've been crying oh so well") in this standout.
Daniel Romano proves on his latest release that traditional country music is alive and well north of the border - in this case the Canadian border - as the Ontario-based singer/songwriter delivers a collection of effective country weepers.