Trail Mix – Kevin Daniel

Don’t all singer-songwriters have roots in bluegrass, punk, ska, jazz, and acapella groups?

Maybe not, but North Carolina’s Kevin Daniel surely does. With roots in classical music dating back to his early elementary years, Daniel has arrived at his guitar driven folk rock after adventuring across the musical landscape for the last twenty years.

As “Pour Me A Drink” suggests, the end results have been well worth it. This latest single is a folky acoustic ode with some rock and roll brass, complete with a sing along chorus about love gone bad and the solace found in the bottle.

I recently caught up with Kevin, who was kind enough to dish on all manner of firsts with me.

BRO – First record you ever bought?

KD – I think the first record I ever bought with my own money was Dave Matthews Band’s Remember Two Things. The first record I was ever given was No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. Both of those discs change my life and I have probably listened to each at least a hundred times a piece. Probably more. They’re two very different bands, but both have horns, which was cool to me because, at the time, I was playing saxophone in three different high school bands. Also, young Gwen Stefani’s voice was insane and sounded totally different than anyone else at the time.

BRO – First concert ticket you ever bought?

KD – I think the first concert ticket I ever bought was to Aerosmith. I went with my girlfriend at the time because she just got a car and wanted to drive. The show was at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, but I think it’s called something else now. But, more importantly, the first concert I ever attended was Jimmy Buffett. My parents were sailors and took me and my brother and sister on a week-long sailing trip on our boat in the Bahamas. It was amazing. The night before we left, they took us to the Buffett concert, maybe to get everyone in the mood, which is hilarious. I remember at the time thinking it was awesome, although I’m sort of embarrassed that it was my first show. It was also my first introduction into serious fandom, with the whole Parrothead scene. It was probably also the first time I saw adults get really, really drunk.

BRO – First instrument you learned to play?

KD – Like many musicians, my first instrument was the piano. I used to take lessons from an elderly woman who lives across the street from my elementary school in Tarboro, North Carolina. I’d drag this huge keyboard to school with me. It was almost as big as I was. Then I’d cross the street after school and take a lesson. In hindsight, I’m surprised my parents let me cross the street alone at such a young age, but things were different back then. I was probably around five or six years old. Around eight, they got me a saxophone after I had been playing with a toy one for five months straight. I think they finally got the message, and sax soon became my obsession.

BRO – First song you ever played live?

KD – That would be “Hotel California” at a high school pep rally. The teachers allowed me and my band to play one song. We spent about ten hours practicing and we still sucked, but I felt like a rock star. I later learned the song is sort of about a whore house in hell, which is pretty funny, considering we played it in a gym for a bunch of teenagers.

BRO – First song you ever danced to?

KD – I went to Jewish summer camp in Hendesonville, North Carolina, and we used to have mixers every couple of weeks. This was definitely my first time dancing with a girl, and I’m almost positive it was to “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing,” by Aerosmith. I remember I didn’t even really know how to slow dance. I put my hands on her shoulders, not her waist, and we basically danced like two zombies facing each other. I think I’m a little better now.

Kevin Daniel will be in New Jersey this weekend taking part in the prestigious Singer-Songwriter of Cape May gathering. If you find yourself in the Garden State this weekend, drop by for a collection of panels, showcases, and discussions featuring a bevy of outstanding singer-songwriters.

For more information on Kevin Daniel, his tour dates, or when you can catch him live, swing by his website. And be sure to check out “Pour Me A Drink,” along with new cuts from Julian Lage, Joey McGee, Haint Blue, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.

Places to Go, Things to See: