Published Feb 16, 2010Through innocent circumstances, Attack in Black leader Daniel Romano has kindled a rather remarkable classic folk collaboration with Fred Squire and Julie Doiron. The concept is endearing in of itself; Romano discovered some old folk song books and, having never heard them performed, decided to re-imagine them with new musical arrangements. He packed two acoustic guitars and headed to Sackville, NB to record these tunes with Squire (Shotgun & Jaybird, Calm Down It's Monday). They set up a single microphone in Squire's garage, hovering around it with their guitars and voices, and recorded what they played. Because Squire and Doiron were tight at the time, she adds lovely harmony vocals to a bunch of public domain songs and Romano originals, including the startlingly great "The Gambler and His Bride" and the Pete Seeger-esque "Runner," rendered wonderfully by Squire on lead vocals, with three-part harmonies popping up during the song's chorus-like dramatic peaks. This is an exquisitely raw field recording, a contemporary revival of ancient songs that rejuvenates the spirit that spawned them. Like a super-memorable campfire sing-along, Daniel, Fred, & Julie offers the world real folk music, pure and unadorned.
What inspired this project?
Romano: I just basically wanted to play music with Fred and he suggested we record it in his garage. Julie was around and just started singing with us. A few were already arranged and we wrote the rest of it together. For "Hallelujah I'm a Bum," Fred had this fingerpicking part and the words fit the rhythm perfectly. Things like that helped it come together really naturally and quickly.
Why record it so sparsely?
We wanted to keep the whole aesthetic as traditional as possible. I grew up with folk music and it's been in me even when I was a punk in high school and didn't accept it. Now, I feel like writing that kind of music comes most naturally to me.
Will you make another record together?
I can see it happening because there's a tour planned and that was more than I was ever expecting with this project. It was fun to do and there are a lot of old words out there that could be brought back to the attention of people who might not know about them. And it's always fun to write songs with words that already exist, because it's not as hard! (You've Changed)