From: Cleveland, Ohio
Genre: Rock n Roll/Insurgent Country
The term “Singer Songwriter” has always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it is the over-use of categorisation in mainstream media over the past 10 years to describe the new wave of folky artists such as Frank Turner and overnight pop sensations like James Morrison. It has been thrown around in such abundance that does it really even mean anything? Or are we just calling any non-manufactured solo artists singer-songwriters because we can’t think of anything else to describe the music? Sure it’s lazy but I guess music journalism has always been this way. After the influence of The Pixies and eruption of Nirvana, it was obviously a shrewd move for record labels to capitalise on the hotly coined “Grunge” genre by signing up and putting out records by as many bands in the scene as possible, even if it was to a point where groups with little talent or resemblence to the original sound were being championed under the umbrella in order to make a quick buck. It’s pretty cool that a lot of these artists were able to enjoy a success that otherwise may have never happened, but on the flipside we were submerged in a sea of grunge for a while, diluting its appeal, which had originally been based on just a handful of great musicians. But this has happened with every style of mainstream music and the new-wave folk (singer-songwriter) term is no exception.
Yet amongst the hype, there was never talk of Cleveland’s Dan Miraldi. Having grown up in the exceptional musical company of Elvis and The Beatles, this youngster finally made his solo debut in 2009 with album Thirsty, showcasing his incredible untapped talent via obvious punk, classic rock and rock and roll influences. It was a grand first release, raw with passion and recorded with such finess that it surpassed the need for any slick post-production, whilst still ending up sounding like a number one hit. It featured a lot of alt-country that could be likened to Eddie Spaghetti, with folk touches of Bob Dylan, nudges from Elvis and poppy hook injections of The Ramones.
The ability of Maraldi to create catchy, radio-friendly tunes is a thing of beauty and come 2012’s Sugar & Adrenaline this really shone through in probabaly the clearest way in his career thus far. Just to clarify, the records are all backed with bass and drums and live shows often performed with his band The Albino Winos, meaning that this is real electrified rock and roll, not just some guy strumming his acoustic. The track “Runaround” for example is hooky popness like Paul Westerberg and there is “Yonder St. Sebastian” with more of a Dylan groove. “I Fall in Love All Over Again” is a pop gem in itself, singing innocently about high school crushes and giving a great example of Miraldi’s songwriting and affinity for contagious melody. If you want to begin your Dan Miraldi journey then this LP is certainly the place to start, one which also includes his hit “Record Collection” that helped gain a few extra Miraldites on YouTube and Spotify when it dropped via the Internet a few years back.
Fast forward through 2012’s slightly more acoustic and laid back EP The Freewheelin’, to the rocking 6-track Devil At Our Heels, there is a coming together of his sound as it reaches a more polished status. Opener “Untame” features a take on the classic “More Than A Feeling” chord progression, perfectly complimented with synths and a super catchy summertime chorus. “Lovebomb” has a more britpop/indie feel with its female harmonies, as does “I Still Wish She Was Mine”, blending upbeat pop and well rounded punk.
After moving to New York in 2014 to finish his masters degree in music business, Miraldi released his latest LP Chaos, Destruction and Dancing – slightly more indie/folk oriented, this record seems to fit in more with the aforementioned bandwagon of mainstream popularity and that is no doubt attestable to the work of Dave Douglas and Steven Beller who Miraldi has been working with for the first time. Moving to New York could be a smart move, as could directing his sound towards that of a mainstream audience and maybe that is why he chose these producers to guide him through the process. As much as anyone manipulates the output however it is his passion and emotion that breathes through all of Miraldi’s work and as long as he feels it, his listeners will too. This latest effort confidently retains the roots that brought him to the dance, with the same songwriting approach and country rock band feel – just with a different delivery. As with all his songs, they will easily bring smiles to people’s faces and fit right in on both mainstream and alternative radio.
Dan Miraldi should be a superstar; he should be “Beatles-famous”. With good looks and features not too dissimilar from Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler it would seem he has all the ingredients to conquer the world of pop and why that has not happened yet, or a label hasn’t snapped him up, is a mystery; At least from this side of the fence. He is still young and with the level of rock and roll present in his veins, his destiny surely awaits. Let’s just hope he gets his break soon, while he can enjoy it!
Go support Dan Miraldi via the following links and listen to his music here on Spotify!