Emily Daniels - Welcome To A Heartache
This savvy country girl’s generous, wry confessionals are a rare thing: country-rock that marries perfectly hard-living masculinity with perceptive, sensitive femininity. The Nashville native’s energetic, sassy storytelling shines throughout, blended with a natural ability to marry catchy tunes to well-turned out lyrics added to a voice, which can shift gears quickly from a soft ballad to a well-aimed roar. Emily sings and writes with a high degree of emotional acuity with songs that often carry the bruises of experience beyond her years. Brimming with tales of romance and coming of age, hardship and risk, all sung in her sometimes sweet-as-honey, other times brash as a wronged woman, voice, this promising six-song debut beefs up her bright, breezy modern country with the efforts of a superb supporting cast of top-class musicians, wisely leaving her see-saw vocals to carry the catchy melody sounds.
I caught Emily at Tin Pan South some three years ago and was greatly impressed. For the past few years she has organically grown a substantial fan base via social media, not to mention regular writer’s nights in and around Nashville with touring further afield, including the Key West Songwriter’s Festival. The past year or so saw the live shows come to an abrupt halt, allowing Emily time to complete the recordings for this EP. She opens with the fiddle-driven Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, a spunky performance that makes for the perfect kiss-off song that America’s mainstream country radio desperately needs—and one of the best pop-country radio songs that sadly doesn’t stand a prayer of breaching those tight, male-dominated playlists. Just as infectious is Ex On The Beach, another break-up song which finds Emily getting her groove back over Shania-sized rhythms and a catchy chorus, as she moves on with glee in her heart—pretty perfect soundtrack to a gorgeous summer shining vibrantly with hooks made for endless nights of dancing and drinking in the moonlight. She’s a whole lot more ballsy with Stained Glass, alluringly bitter, shrewd and sharp with an eclectic pop hook that keeps recurring throughout with a slicker, brassier Sheryl Crow-styled vocal. In contrast I’d Fall For That, a light-hearted, hopeful song about the kind of guy she’d like to meet and get to know. A little bit tongue-in-cheek, sexy and full of great one-liners like ‘He’s gotta love Jesus more than he loves me,’ or ‘I hope he’s tall, ‘cause I hate wearing flats.’
The title song captures the promise and pain of young love with a rare perception and understanding. Reflecting on how wonderful a first relationship appeared at the start, only to reach the realisation that it wouldn’t have worked no matter how hard you tried, the song ends on an uplifting and melodic note of wise advice. Though all of these songs are created from personal experiences, the one song that comes from deep down in Emily’s heart and soul is What I Don’t Know. It’s based on a relationship breakdown as she pours out her deepest and most innermost thoughts on how this has affected her. An emotional, and very personal song, yet one that should and will connect with many, due to the honest lyrics and heartfelt delivery. Emily Daniels demonstrates with this all-too-short set, that she possesses both the writing chops and vocal ability to go far. To date she’s been very much an independent artist, but on the basis of this superb debut, I have a feeling the big guys will soon be knocking on her door.