Danny Randell is a singer/songwriter based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He’s been pursuing the elusive world of music for three years, at which point he started seeing songwriting as something more than a hobby; Randell saw an opportunity to strive for more, so he began to record his work. After working on his debut EP for two years, back at Backbeat Studios in Calgary, he’d already released a polished, captivating single entitled “Eastbound Train” online by August of that same year in an attempt to grow a dedicated, intimate fan-base. I can say that he most certainly deserves dedicated fans, because consistency is a concept Randell definitely understands. His debut EP was released late last year, and it’s well worth a listen for those of you looking for a new indie acoustic/alt-rock artist with some raw ability and polished, well-mixed work.
Randell’s five-track debut EP entitled First Name Basis opens with its title track, serving as an introduction to this artist, getting to know him on a real level, rather than as any other country or alt-rock indie artist. He sings about being “on a first name basis” in case the title wasn’t enough of a giveaway, but the blunt, gentle simplicity of the track is what makes it so appealing. A soft, infectious acoustic chord progression and alt-rock-esque screeching electric guitar create a beautiful dynamic between captivating moments both loud and quiet. In much the same way, Randell’s vocals offer real variety, soft and sweet at times, belting and beautiful at others. Ed Sheeran vibes abound on this track, as with the rest of the EP, but there’s something a little unique about Randell’s raw approach to songwriting. He’s got all the elements an artist needs to be successful.
Randell really hones into his inner feelings on “Bright Blue Eyes” which also benefits from one of the most enticing pieces of ear-candy on the whole EP. Sliding electric guitar sits atop a head-bop-worthy chord progression and Randell’s emotive, passionate vocals, as he sings, “I just wanna stand here all night / Looking into those eyes / If I fall, then just let me go / If it’s gonna hurt, I don’t wanna know.” We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt love’s uplifting and heart-breaking tendencies. Randell captures the tender beauty of both the highs and the lows of love through both his vocal performance and the songwriting present on this track.
“My Flower” is a stripped-back, tender experience. A sweet acoustic chord progression guides Randell’s melancholic vocals. Sugar-coated, yet raspy vocals, Randell pushes his voice into the upper reaches of a tender, fractured falsetto. He sings, “You can be my flower / I’ll be your sun / Keeping your warm / From the crack of dawn.” For all the times that Randell can show pessimism and darkness, he can just as easily show moments of warmth. That’s what makes his performance so human, and, in turn, so raw. There’s beauty in embracing both the good and bad parts of life. Of course, there’s also beauty in being musically gifted, and Randell checks that box too.
All in all, for a mere five tracks, Danny Randell accomplishes a lot here. I’m intrigued to see what he’ll accomplish on his next release, whether it’s a mere handful of tracks, or, hopefully, a full-length album.
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