LCM ALBUM OF THE MONTH - APRIL 2019
THE MELTED MORNING - DANNI NICHOLLS
Artist: Danni Nicholls
Release Date: 12th April, 2019
Genre: Americana, Folk, Singer-Songwriter
Record Label: Danni Nicholls Music
Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)
The highly anticipated third studio album ‘The Melted Morning’ is a real gem and I think it will be a future multi award-winning album. It was produced by Jordan Brooke Hamlin (Indigo Girls, Lucy Wainwright-Roche) at the idyllic woodland studio MOXE in Nashville.
The album contains a collection of personal, reflective yet widely universal songs. Some are self written while other are collaborations with highly regarded singer-songwriters including Ben Glover, Robby Hecht, Jess Morgan and Kyshona Armstrong.
The themes of the album are very relatable, the pain and darkness of rejection, the fear of losing yourself and the power of human connection. It offers up hope, light and new perspectives in the face of adversity. The album is beautifully written, arranged and produced and perfectly complements Danni rich and pure velvety vocals. The production is wonderfully positioned, always in harmony and never overpowering.
The album also features a group of female musicians who are currently the cream of the Nashville crop including Annie Clements (Maren Morris, Amos Lee), Larissa Maestro (Margo Price), Kyshona Armstrong, Jordan Brooke Hamlin (Brandi Carlile, Katie Herzig), Gena Johnson (Jason Isbell, John Prine) and background vocals from the Grammy award nominated duo, The Secret Sisters.
Danni comments “I needed a new challenge, a new landscape to work in sonically, physically, energetically and viscerally. Collaborating with Jordan and this incredible team of women gave me the opportunity and we have created a delicate, vibey, honest and vulnerable collection of songs that we dove deep into to find out who they wanted to become”. “Working with almost exclusively woman for this project felt like the most natural and obvious path, partly out out a desire for a whole new record making experience and knowing wholeheartedly I wanted to work with Jordan in his inspiring safe haven she has built and partly because it just feels good and important to play a small part in addressing the ongoing gender imbalance in the music industry. But mostly because I admire and respect these people immensely and felt they were the absolute right people to help bring these songs to life”
After receiving two consecutive Americana Music Association UK award nominations (2017 UK Album of the Year for ‘Mockingbird Lane’ and 2018 UK Artist of the Year), Danni is maturing wonderfully into one of the UK’s leading Americana singer-songwriters.
The album opens with the first co-write with Ben Glover the very reflective ‘Wild As The Water’. I love the piano arrangement. The reflective mood continues with a wonderful co-write with Norfolk based singer-songwriter Jess Morgan entitled ‘Losing It’. It’s themes are about losing yourself in life. “I’ve been telling myself a bedtime story. I’ve been selling myself way to cheap. I’ve been killing myself…..I need to find a way back to this heart of mine. I’ve got to change the ending one more time”. The soulful and gospel infused ‘Hear Your Voice’ is a lovely co-wrote with Kyshona Armstrong, who many might remember toured the UK with Sarah Darling and Jenn Bostic a few years ago and is over in the UK on tour soon. This is beautiful arranged and written with super backing harmonies (including Laura and Lydia Rogers) and organ, blending perfectly with Danni’s pure vocal. Classic and moving.
‘Unwanted’ is a co-write with Amelia White and John McElloy dealing with the end of a close relationship and the need to move quickly on and far away. It is a very passionate and poignant rendition. Continuing on the same theme and written with Robby Hecht is ‘Wish I Were Alone’, dealing with the ghosts and echoes left after a relationship has ended. The second co-write with Ben Glover is the hauntingly beautiful ‘Frozen’. There is a saying that ‘less is often more’ and this is a wonderfully stripped song slowly building into a magnificent classy track. It’s super live. It’s lyrics also contain the album’s unusual title. The self penned and reflective ‘Lemonade’ takes a positive outlook to dealing with life’s issues in the face of adversity. Examining the chain of events which are needed for success, even if at the time, all you see are grey clouds in your life.
A co-write with Jaimee Harris ‘Power To Leave’ returns to the central theme of relationships. The third co-write with Ben is ‘Texas’. It reminds me style wise of a Gretchen Peters song. It’s very cinematic and has a very strong narrative featuring once again the subject of ghosts & angels and longing and looking for a home and sense of place. The first of two self penned song close the album first ‘Ancient Embers’ with mournful cello from Larissa adding gravitas and the perfect mood. The Secret Sisters once again providing the excellent backing vocals. Finally the reflective and self analyzing ‘Hopeless Romantic’ “Looking for love in all the wrong places….seeking my future in far away faces.” Turning to the positive “I’m won’t give up on love…no, it’s keeping me going”. Listen out for the haunting and ghostly pedal steel from Ellen Angelico.
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