Daniel Tashian’s musical career has seen him critically and widely acclaimed as a producer, singer and songwriter.
Behind the boards and in the songwriting rooms, he is a world-renowned country radio hitmaker and crossover pop pioneer. However, the idea that the intersection of his work over the past five years for Josh Turner, Kacey Musgraves, Burt Bacharach and many others occurs in a devoted adoration of peasant California rings five decades together binds all the seemingly disparate successes together. of her career. .
Via his latest studio album “Night After Night”, his inspirations and style focus on their most acute point yet.
Tashian’s unique ability to tap into and deepen her family ties to the sounds of Emmylou Harris is as much about her story as it is about the ever-increasing level of appreciation for her work. He is the son of Barry and Holly Tashian, a bluegrass duo whose roots intersect with “Night After Night” inspiration Paul Kennerley, as all have a history with Harris’ 1970s stage unit, the Hot Band.
Kennerley’s Styles created a “heart-driven” course for Tashian to reconnect with a childhood spent listening to “the greatest storytelling songs in American pop music history,” involving not only the previously mentioned artists, but also the group, Rodney Crowell, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young.
“These people are geniuses, but the music they made was so complex,” he says.
He suggests that working with Kennerley taught him to “simplify” the work of these artists. This spurred him on to a career he defines as “curating great stories and singing great songs about them”.
Learning an easier path to understanding the lyricism of these songs by demystifying their musicality allows him to continue to “grow, move forward, and make the most of my time on Earth,” adds Tashian.
Kennerley’s talent as a rhythm guitarist who plays “open three-chord songs where the major third occurs in the melody – it gets the blood pumping but also puts you in a trance” – is what drives the material recorded for “Night After Night.” The duo have been spending time together at each other’s homes during the COVID-19 quarantine, strumming melodies in what are called “sessions.”
“Paul would tell me at the start of a session, ‘We’re going to have Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly look over our shoulders at the rhymes we’re writing for these songs.'”
The album’s title track is one that Tashian says he “could play at a pool party or barbecue with impunity, (because) Paul is the master of that”.
“It’s a scratch song for everyone,” he adds.
A loving ballad aided by a catchy rhythm, she turns to dancing at full speed. Still, it stops at a good tempo of hand-and-foot clapping, appropriate for an afternoon when it’s just a step too hot to get into a dance party.
Songs like “Tumble and Fall” and “Thinking About You Too Much” are powerful yet plaintive. The combined effect is intentional, driven by the notion taught by Tashian to Kennerley that the best songs use basic major chord structures and simplified metaphors and similes like “Duplo-style Legos” as essential building blocks of simple, accessible and “irresistible” songs. .
The intertwining of the lyrics with the cadence of the beat creates a “hurry up and wait for it” sensibility that makes this latest song stand out. There’s a free-wheeling nature to that, which when combined with the way it unfolds another melodic or rhythmic element every 30 seconds, makes it a song that could choose any number of ways to go. sneak into your head, but is content to achieve them all in a measured way. . Lyrically, it’s about every connection with the pangs of denial after heartbreak.
In the past – especially with David Gehrke and Jason Lehning as pop trio The Silver Seas, Musgraves’ 2018 Grammy-winning and 2021’s ‘Star-Crossed’ album, Musgraves, and with Bacharach for April’s “Blue Umbrella” – he has made a name for himself as an aesthetic minimalist. For his band, he avoided electric guitars. For “Star-Crossed,” he points out how it’s delivered as a three-act Shakespearian epic across 15 tracks. As for Bacharach, he notes how the iconic songwriter uses more than one-syllable words than most.
However, when thrown into a sonic environment where “people are inventing genres in their bedrooms every day”, pursuing this idea by working with Kennerley allows him to create “definable and identifiable” sounds by both classical and modern standards.
Or, in the case of “Somebody’s Thinking About You,” it’s an anti-bullying lullaby for his daughter where he says “someone like (him) hopes (his) dreams come true.”
Sometimes mastery of the craft comes in a ravishing moment of genius. Other times, it’s by stripping Tom Petty-esque rock & roll and the Heartbreakers to its basic folk elements to keep a child from crying all night.
“I put so much time and effort into everything I post,” says Tashian. “And once he’s there, he enters an environment that, more than ever, feels like an explosive, daily media barrage.”
Gently, he makes a statement that offers a deeper understanding of his artistic motivations and how high-profile creators can better adjust their expectations of the music industry in the future.
“I make music that I think will rock the world,” he says, “but I accept that most people think my music is cool.”