Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Daniel Fox is a rising singer songwriter with musical roots in folk, jazz, ambient rock and country western styles. His debut concept album Tree & Leaf is based on the natural cycle of life and was recorded in a myriad of locations. All proceeds from this album will be donated to Stronger Than Stigma, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mental health advocacy.
The album begins with “The Cave-Dweller” a watery, slightly ominous tune that juxtaposes floating wind instruments with steady guitar fingerpicking and throbbing percussion and bass below. Fox’s voice explores falsetto ranges as echoing jungle sounds reverberate through the gradually crescendoing soundscape, which creates a cohesive song that serves as a symbol of birth.
“Not a War” opens with a quirky riff played by guitar and xylophone notes as vocals and flute harmonize with one another. A beautiful string quartet makes brief appearances throughout the song with swelling chords, droning notes and an instrumental section, but the majority of the song’s energy is carried by Fox’s voice and background vocals, as he melodiously sings on the nature of love in this catchy piece.
The country flavor of Fox’s songwriting style becomes clear in “Little Bird” a cheerful track featuring classic chord progressions, steady percussion and walking bass lines. The bridge of this song is the most memorable section of the song with the slightly louder snare drum bringing an added layer to the already enjoyable song. The folk-tinged theme continues in “Tree Fable” a subdued ballad with soft piano chords and wistful vocals.
“Better Off Alone” highlights Fox’s vocal precision and ability on the guitar. The song gradually builds in intensity and volume until the lone guitars and voice are joined by a host of instruments, including a spectacularly mellow horn section. The album comes to an end with “Night Becomes a Fire” an electronic, piano-driven anthem that serves as a symbol for death in this concept album. As a whole, Tree & Leaf is a surprisingly impressive and mature production for such a novel musician, and it will undoubtedly propel Daniel Fox far in his musical career.
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