It doesn't get more traditional than floppy hats and plaid shirts.
Daniel, Fred and Julie
Daniel, Fred and Julie took an old songbook, added some new yet traditional music, and created a little bit of unexpected magic
It all started with a song book and a train trip to New Brunswick.
From there, musicians Daniel Romano, Julie Doiron and Fred Squire gathered together in a garage, pressed record, and let the songs happen.
At least that’s the vibe Romano gives about the recording of the self-titled release by their group, aptly titled Daniel, Fred and Julie.
Romano took a train out to Squire’s house in Sackville, NB, and was met their by Doiron and her kids. Romano brought with him a book of traditional folk songs that he had gotten from his parents, and the record grew from there.
While lyrically, a lot of the songs on the self-titled release are the same as they were when they were written, most of the music was rewritten by the either Romano or Squire.
“A few of them I knew a little bit. I picked out the ones that worked, at first glance, as a song.” He said. “I wouldn’t have to stuff too many words into a verse.”
Instead of modernizing the songs like Billy Bragg and Wilco did on the Mermaid Avenue sessions, the band opted for a much more “traditional” approach.
When asked why they didn’t take the updated approach, Romano said “I think that is what we didn’t want to do. We wanted to make it in the most traditional style possible.”
“‘Clementine’ is pretty much the only one that is a staple.” he said. “That one is pretty much the same (as it was originally written). I knew “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum”. My Grandfather used to play that song, but I don’t remember how it went so I guessed. The melody, Fred had an old finger picking riff he could play and that just came together like that.”There were no overdubs or edits. You can hear trucks driving by. You can hear Julie�s kids moving lawn chairs around.
Recorded in Squire’s garage surrounded by the sounds of the street, the band laid down the record in one week. As their bio sheet says “there were no overdubs or edits.” What was recorded was what you hear on the record.
“You can hear trucks driving by. You can hear Julie’s kids moving lawn chairs around.”
Talking with Romano, you get the sense that none of this was planned much in advance. He says the idea “was just to do some recording. We thought ‘we will be recording, but maybe nothing will come of it.”
“I wanted to hang out with Fred and play guitar and stuff.” he said. “I went out there to see what would happen, and thats (the album) what happened!”
The album went on to chart on !earshot, and got positive reviews nearly across the board. Romano says the response has been “a surprise. Bigtime”
“I wasn’t expecting that at all” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be publicized at all, but then I guess you have to do that in order for people to know about it.”
The band did a brief European tour for the record, and is in the middle of a cross Canada tour.
As for his other band, Welland, On Attack In Black, he said that a new record should be in stores in the fall.
When asked to describe the sound of the band now, which has undergone a noticeable change since the release of their 2007 debut record Marriage, he said “The new record is going to sound like Crazyhorse.”
“Punk had run its course really.” Romano said. “There was nowhere to go.”
Besides a new record, he addressed a few internet rumours about the re-release of that debut record.
“That’s probably more my brother’s project.” Romano said. “I know he has mentioned something like that before. Getting the tapes from the original session and trying to do something with them. I don’t know if he will ever follow through on that but I would be interested to hear it.”
Much like the rerelease of Marriage, he says he is unsure of the future of Daniel, Fred and Julie.
“I felt like it would be weird if we did something again. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I talked to Fred and he said he would be into the idea. I feel like I could be into the idea, if he is.”
Perhaps Romano will need another summer vacation one day.
Find out more about Daniel, Fred and Julie at http://www.myspace.com/danielfredandjulie