Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
esse Daniel brought a little bit of Bakersfield to Orange County on this Sunday night – and this was more than just the two Merle Haggard songs and the one Buck Owens song he covered. Backed by a sturdy band, which also included a steel guitar player, Daniel played a wide variety of songs from his full-length recordings and had this audience dancing along joyfully much of the time.
Daniel played acoustic guitar and sang all the lead vocals. Some of the best selections from the latest "Beyond These Walls" album included the sweet "Angel on the Ground" and the semi-political "Living in the Great Divide." Daniel also sang a really moving story song called "Clayton Was a Cowboy," which revealed the wide range of his songwriting skills. Daniel drew many of his selections from his previous "Rollin' On" album including the title track and the inward-looking "Old at Heart."
Even though it was a Sunday night, with many folks needing to get up for work the next day, everybody seemed to be enjoying all the traditional country sounds. Daniel may have a small audience, but they're nevertheless a devoted one.
Victoria Bailey opened with a nearly equally compelling song set. Her band also included a steel guitar player and she accompanied herself on an acoustic. She drew from her wonderfully titled "Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline" album and closed her well received set with the winning "Honky Tonk Woman."
While you may not hear a lot of music like this show on commercial radio nowadays, two extremely talented traditionalists proved how great traditional country music is nevertheless out there – if you look for it.