Sometimes the best decisions in life are the hardest ones to make.
Such is the theme of Dainesly’s debut album “Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory.” The title pays reference to bandleader Bryan Daines’ internal struggle over his decision the split with popular Tahoe band Dead Winter Carpenters late last year.
“In a lot of ways leaving Dead Winter felt like self sabotage,” says Daines. “I felt like I was giving up on my dreams. Ultimately, I think it came down to not being happy. I’ve always liked the advice that with any undertaking the process should be its own reward. I didn’t feel like I had much control over my life so leaving was the only way I saw to get some of that back.”
Watch the video for “Inner States of Interstates”
July 28 | 5:30 p.m. | Wingfield Park | Reno, Nev.
with Jake Houston & The Royal Flush
While Daines is a remarkable country guitarist, his playing never wholly crystalized within the Neil Youngian classic rock swagger of DWC’s style of Americana. Although he played with energy and precision (and contributed some quality songwriting and musicianship to 2016’s “Washoe”) it sometimes seemed on stage as if he was simply playing too many notes. New guitarist Nick Swimley’s sense of sparsity and tone is probably a better fit in this regard.
“I feel it’s my most honest work to date both in terms of where the songs are coming from and the ‘warts and all’ quality of the recordings that come from a minimal amount of takes, editing and studio voodoo.” -Bryan Daines
Fortunately Daines’ new album with a Reno-solid backing band featuring bassist Alexander Koroninsky of The Sextones and drummer Aaron Chiazza of The Beatles tribute Rain, finally provides the space to do his brilliant playing complete justice. Recorded over the course of two years in friends’ garages and living rooms on 4-track, 8-track and one-quarter-inch tape machines, every note on these 11 songs has found its own place to shine.
As the album kicks in, I’m immediately struck by the technical finesse of Daines’ guitar work. The first three tracks are upbeat rockabilly punctuated by intricately crafted lyrics and complex plays on classic country guitar riffs reminding me of a souped-up version of Gram Parsons or The Byrds. This is the perfect mode for the 31 year old to show off his formidable chops and unique songwriting. Three minutes in I’m sold by his commentary on “looking out for mass appeal with words we say but do not feel / another guy with flash and zeal singing f*ing Wagon Wheel”.
“Bury Me Nameless” comes in lo-fi before Daines’ bright, punctuated Telecaster once more takes the lead. “Omaha” is a clever tune of dreams and regret bursting with well-written turnarounds and lyrical timing over a hook reminiscent of Jerry Garcia’s “Cumberland Blues.” The album then expands to slow burner “It’s All Quite Clear,” Shawn Tamborini’s pedal steel ringing with heartbreak before “No Color” tenders a silly play on the lonely life of a dinosaur.
But it was the B-side of the record that really caught my attention starting with “Two Colors Made of Grey.” It’s Fleet Foxes folk-psychedelia with loose guitar arpeggios and altered pedal steel emanating over a bass drum heartbeat. Notwithstanding echoes of Uncle Tupelo, by “Inner State of Interstates’” knowing play on words Dainesly has created a captivating sound all its own.
The band later gets loose with the alt-country garage rock feel of “Streets” and “Wolves;” it’s another welcome change that continues through the end of the album. While Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory demonstrates several interesting sides of Daines’ musical vision, its only flaw may be a lack of consistency in a band still defining its sound. Overall, it’s an excellent surprise from one of Reno’s most talents guitarists and Americana musicians that promises to grow on you the more you listen to it.
“I feel it’s my most honest work to date both in terms of where the songs are coming from and the ‘warts and all’ quality of the recordings that come from a minimal amount of takes, editing and studio voodoo,” says Daines.
If this is what following your heart, seeking true happiness and being honest produces for you Mr. Daines, then I say follow on my friend. Follow on. | facebook.com/dainesly