These days, Daniel Romano’s country, top to bottom. Take a look at that album cover if you need any proof. Come Cry with Me is 10 songs of down-and-out sadness with tongue-in-cheek wit and a trained songwriter’s ear. Talking with the man in advance of his show show tonight at the Exchange, it was clear the country thing is working for Romano, in more ways than one.
KEEPING THE RIGHT PEOPLE AROUND Every genre has good people working in it, sure, but you’re more likely to bump into Dallas Good (of the Sadies and a half dozen other projects) if you’ve got some roots in what you’re doing. Romano brought Good “to sing the baritone because he’s got the lowest voice I know of,” says Romano. There’s also a harmony between the kinds of music they’re making.
“I think he’s taken me on as a big brother character, which I’m totally fine with.”
BE AS SAD AS YOU WANT The title for album came from a song that got cut off the record, but Come Cry with Me is a perfect summation of what the album’s all about.
Romano doesn’t really think about whether a song’s happy or sad while he’s writing it.
“Honestly, I write them so fast that I don’t even noticed that they’re sad. I’d just gotten used to the formula of the tongue-in-cheek country-western way. They’re not sad songs, they’re just songs. That’s way songs are; they’re all sad. That’s what I’m used to now.”
YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN The album ends with a stunning live recording of a song called “A New Love (Can Be Found)”. They used the stripped-down live version for practical reasons: Romano wrote the song after they were done recording all the others, and they didn’t have time to go back into the studio.
I love this version, but Romano says not everyone feels the same.
“A lot of people actually feel differently. We did a performance of it for American Songwriter magazine and people are getting a little case of the demo-itis because that’s how they heard it first then they hear on the record and it’s not the same, and they think that it’s sub-par.”
Luckily, country always welcomes another version of an old song. “I think we’re going to do a studio version on the next record.”
TAKE WHAT YOU NEED I don’t even finish asking Romano about the influences of his song “I’m Not Crying Over You” when he starts answering. “It’s pretty much an exact combination of ‘Act Naturally’ and “She Thinks I Still Care’.”
He’s not sure how those songs by Buck Owens and George Jones came to influence one of his own.
“I’m sure it was in there somewhere. I remember I wrote it really fast, probably in 10 minutes. I don’t remember the exact process, but I do realize that now and I realized it then.”
Daniel Romano and the Trilliums are playing tonight, February 7 at the Exchange, along with Whitehorse.