Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Daniel Levi Goans - "BrotherStranger"

North Carolina-based indie-folk troubadour Daniel Levi Goans, formerly of Nashville-based folk rock band The War, self-released his beautiful sophomore solo album BrotherStranger last September.  Recorded, mixed and produced by Goans himself, "Bon Iver-style" in an old library on the Chesapeake Bay, the lush music captures the beauty around it.  He even used his surroundings to help create his music with creaking floorboards, old tables and book-bindings being put to good use.  Lyrically, Daniel uses an evocative folk narrative to comment on affairs of the heart, nature and life with a strong Christian message.   

The sprawling "Albatross" opens the album with ethereal cello and a softly chugging rhythm and introduces us to Daniel's gentle yet assertive voice on the seven-minute track.  The ambient almost-instrumental "Arcana Echoes" follows with the wispy, wind-swept soundtrack to a breezy day on the Bay.  The soulful stand out track "Gates Of Heaven" is a gospel-inflected hymm with softly picked acoustic guitars, big open piano notes and an angelic choir of uplifting voices.  The title track, "Brother Stranger" is a twangy, waltzing duet with guest vocalist Lauren Plank that builds into a rag-tag jam before fading out with their Heavens-reaching harmonies.  The steady strumming, harmonica, and lively melodies lead to a stomp-and-clap back porch jam on "Guess I'd Better Take Off My Shoes".  Another standout track, "Enemies" breezes by in seven minutes with insistent strumming, heartfelt vocals and a touching story of love and redemption.  "Blue To Black" features churning fingerstyle guitars and breathy vocals.  The piano-led balladry of "My Mind Became My Home" stands out with its soaring, room-filling vocal melodies and close-knit harmonies.  "Do You?" adds a little bit of bounce to the mix with springy acoustic guitars and more gorgeous female backing vocals.  That spirit follows on "Silver Tongue" with its handclaps, jangly percussion and choir-like sing-along chorus.  The reverent "57" features cyclical, finger-picked guitars and pleading lyrics straight from Psalm 57 set to glorious male/female vocals.  The twelve-track album closes with the epic almost fourteen-minute long "Family Name" and it's cascading piano, yearning electric guitar and a tale of love like only Daniel can tell.

With his stunning sophomore album, BrotherStranger, Daniel Levi Goans shows that he is a voice to be heard in the folk scene.  I only wish I had heard this album when it was released last year because it would have made it onto my Top 10 list without a doubt.

Download "Do You?" here: http://soundcloud.com/cyberpr/daniel-levi-goans-do-you/s-9JbwI   

Stream/buy BrotherStranger here: http://music.daniellevigoans.com/album/brotherstranger

For more info: http://www.daniellevigoans.com/


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