Daniel Romano celebrates the possibilities of live performance

Ontario artist brings experimental sound to The Mansion

Daniel Romano.
Credit: 
From Daniel Romano's Facebook page

For Daniel Romano, the magic of live performance is all about spontaneity. 

The Canadian country and folk-rock musician, poet, and visual artist based out of Welland, Ontario will come to Kingston to perform at The Mansion on Nov. 9, alongside Aaron Goldstein, Roddy Richmond, Kenneth Roy Meehan, and his brother, Ian Romano.

Ian and Daniel have worked together in multiple bands since the early 2000s. Ian’s role within Daniel’s ensemble includes playing the drums, engineering and producing music.

Though primarily a solo artist, Romano regularly collaborates on musical projects with bands such as Attack in Black, Ancient Shapes, and The Outfit. 

Ancient Shapes, which features the likes of Roddy Rosetti and Ian Romano, will release their new album A Flower That Wouldn't Bloom on Oct. 25.

He prefers to play with other people because of the different exchanges of ideas that can happen onstage. The artist credits this to the interpretive space that he tries to create in his music. 

Romano’s role as a poet, as well as an experimental musician, also changes the tone of every collaboration, determining whether the end product will be driven by lyrics or by musical composition.

This has a strong impact on each piece and the extent to which it’s traditional versus nonconformist.

“When I’m playing drums, adding music and then lyrics last, it does make for a more interesting phrasing,” Romano said.

Nonetheless, every song is subject to change based on the time, place and atmosphere of the performance.  Romano and his ensemble reinvigorate their older songs with every performance.

The musician says his experimentalism is rooted in a desire for subjectivity.

He tries to keep storytelling at the forefront of his music in order to recognize that each person who listens to his songs will take away something different.

“It’s funny when people adamantly declare that they know what your songs are about. Sometimes I don’t even know,” he said. “I’m more focused on the energy of a song than anything.”

This spontaneity is a testament to the ways Romano’s musical identity has changed over the years. The artist is afraid of creative boredom when it comes to his work.   

His current personal sound is focused on the folk-country genre with a modern synth twist, keeping it fresh and interesting. 

In his collaborations, working with bands like Ancient Shapes has allowed Romano to delve into punk, while Attack in Black let him experiment in rock and roll.

The common link between these groups, other than the fact that Ian Romano is a member of all three, is the abstraction of the norm in the genre.

Daniel Romano works hard to bring new energy to traditional genres through shifting song formats’ dynamics and mobilizing beats in unexpected ways.

At the moment, the singer-songwriter’s biggest influences stem from the 1960s British and Irish folk revival.

Romano names Anne Briggs and Bridget St. John as particular inspirations, declaring the women to be “the kind of people who reinterpreted the tradition of the craft and moved it forward.”

Through his performances, straddling otherwise opposing ends of musical history, Romano creates a romantic blend of nostalgia and modernity.

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