Daniel Romano's Outfit Return to Their Americana Roots on 'Content to Point the Way'
Published May 01, 2020Daniel Romano's Content to Point the Way is a sentimental trip back to Americana, resting in well-written songs about love and longing without breaking new ground — but what else can you expect from his fourth album of 2020? Here, Romano returns to the warm slide guitar, piano key-tapping and Americana crooning of earlier albums like 2015's If I've Only One Time Askin'. Content to Point the Way doesn't venture into new territory, instead mastering well-worn country themes of love and pining.
Things start happy enough, kicking off with slow dance love songs "If Words Can't Express It" — a love story about moving from friends to lovers — and "Bits And Pieces." From there, his songwriting takes a turn for the sentimental, in turns convincing a lover to leave an unhappy relationship before cajoling them to let go of their "make-believe love."
The album's best tracks nail the Romano trademark — a walloping chorus from the heart that the rest of the song seems to pull towards with bated breath. "Diamonds and Dogs" is the album's pinnacle, winding together melancholy, atmospheric songwriting about a life on the road with Romano's voice joined by the superb, Alison Krauss-esque backing vocals of Julianna Riolino.
With "I'm So Lost Without You" and "Make Believe Love," Romano settles into songs that could have been written by the country greats of old. They're undeniably well-composed tracks but rely on the scorned lover trope in a way that takes an ounce of originality out of the album as a whole. But the band make up for it with "A Pig Is a Pig Jig," a jaunty little instrumental interlude with a guest-starring appearance from an actual pig.
Swerving away from the energetic, outward-focused tracks of the past few years, Romano and his Outfit offer the pining heart a satisfying — if predictable — soundtrack as only Romano could. (You've Changed)