Album review – “Countin' The Miles” by Jesse Daniel

#510.2 and #510.3 (Honky Tonk and Hard Country) on the Country DDS.

Damn, boy. Jesse Daniel brings a loaded Peterbilt twang here and banishes any worries about “WHAT HAPPENED TO COUNTRY MUSIC TODAY!” You want country music? Listen to Jesse Daniel.

If you're not a country fan, you will be after you try this thing. You'll try on ostrich boots and Resistol hats, say “yes sir” and “yes ma'am” to everyone you meet, and cook all your meals in a hole in your backyard just big enough for a cast-iron Dutch oven. Your neighbors will wonder what the hell happened to the mild-mannered investment banker next door, but you'll be in country music heaven with Counting miles drones on a continuous loop.

Jesse Daniel has already wowed us with his first three albums. But for his first album in three years, he takes on the role of producer for the first time and triples his commitment to authentic honky-tonk sounds and the country music lifestyle.

When Jesse Daniel emphasizes the importance of country, he is not just talking about a style of music. For him, “country music” is also a lifestyle, a state of mind, almost an ideology or even a religion that must be lived up to and followed. It is about hard work, honesty, self-reliance and doing right by yourself and others. Daniel is such a devoted follower of country music because he has used it to get his own life in order and find a righteous path.

Frankly, when you look at the three early singles from this album together, you're a little afraid that it might sound a little too much like Get Off My Lawn, with some lamentations about the wrong direction things are going in today. The influence of Merle Haggard in fellow Californian Jesse Daniel comes to the fore, including on the song “Tomorrow's Good Ol' Days,” which features Merle's son and co-singer Ben Haggard.

But as Jesse Daniel has shown time and time again throughout his career, it's not just the hard country sound he puts out, but the stories he tells, the characters he creates and the wisdom he imparts that make his brand of country music the kind of country music you'll consider your favorite.

At Counting milesJesse Daniel and co-writer/harmony singer Jodi Lyford do what all great traditional country artists do: they take the timeless stories of country music and find new and fresh ways to tell them. “Ol' Montana” is a classic tale of moving away from home and heartbreak, but with a murderous twist. “Steppin' Out” recalls the most spirited duets between Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty back in the day.

Jesse Daniel also sings about both sides of the honky-tonk life: the lighthearted and carefree part where you dance your worries away until the wee hours of the morning, and the empty feeling of those who are trapped in that life and never leave. No matter what stage of life you are in, Jesse Daniel has a song for you. “When Your Tomorrow's In The Past” is one of those songs that gets better every time you hear it.

But let's not bury the main point here. As great as the lyrics for many of the eleven songs of Counting milesit's the steel and lead guitar work on this record that is super tasty and incredibly twangy and makes the album worth listening to even if you rarely pay attention to the lyrics.

Whatever deficit the mainstream countries have accumulated in the area of ​​twang over the last 20 years, Counting miles almost balanced. Jesse Daniel, the producer, was clearly not afraid to ask for more twang and more twang, until it would be scientifically impossible to pack any more into these tracks. It all culminates in the final song, “Cut Me Loose,” where the lead instruments get a few more rounds to play their sounds before the album ends with a fade-out.

You think country music is dead? That there hasn't been anything good in 20 years? Then you don't know Jesse Daniel.

1 3/4 weapons high (8.4/10)

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Buy Counting miles