You’ve probably all heard the music of Daniels – he was a Riverdance band member and folk musician in residence at the Scottish National Museum of Rural Life – but even if you missed those gigs, he was a soloist on the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit soundtracks.
Solo he proves solid, though not exceptional: perhaps he’s one for folkies only, or people who’ve seen him live. Opener Penny In The Slot starts off slowly, but heads for a catchy chorus until he throws in the nursery rhyme: “McDonald’s, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut”, which, eight times out of 10 plays, is jarring rather than a witty addition to a song we assume is about commercialism. If you don’t like it, it’s going to drag the album down.
Elsewhere it’s standard singer/songwriter fare; House That Jack Built is good, a bluesy number in the style of Randy Newman, while Elizabeth Trump And Sons is a jolly, piano-based blues track, which opens with a ramshackle version of the American anthem before telling of what might happen to a child raised without the need for love or pity. The closer is Stevie Wonder’s Don’t You Worry ‘bout A Thing, which is peak Daniels, a great song reduced to being solid. He’s undoubtedly good live, and we guess most sales will be to fans of his live shows.