C. Daniel Boling - These Houses
Boling once earned a living as a forester in the Mesa Verde National Park. Later he worked as an investigator for the US Bureau of Land Management. He lived for a time in Japan. On his fiftieth birthday he started touring.
“These Houses”, produced by Jono Manson, is his seventh album. As a singer he fits in the series with real storytellers like Tom Paxton and Tim Henderson. The latter was a good friend of his. On the new CD Boling interprets Henderson’s songs “Buffalo Nickels” and “Miss Amelia Harris, Spinster”. The rest are new original songs of his own.
Mostly these songs are autobiographical, like the moving opener “Mama's Radio” which describes the day of his fourteenth birthday in 1963. In “Ruby Slippers” there are references to Dorothy Gale from the familiar story and film “The Wizard of Oz”. Boling subtly incorporates melodic tidbits of the classic “Over the Rainbow” at the beginning and end of the song.
“I Brought the War with Me” is one of the most impressive songs I heard this year. It deals with soldiers returning from war with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Crumble” also deals with this subject. Boling is very concerned about the fate of these veterans, for he is himself a war veteran. He donates part of the proceeds to Full Battle Rattle. This is an organization that helps veterans who suffer from this condition.
The final track “Leadbelly, Woody and Pete” is obviously about Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger – three folk singers who delivered a clear message. The songs are all quite sparingly arranged and mostly in the folk idiom. Some have country influences: Dad's Garage; Big Old Heart. The booklet is beautifully designed. “These Houses” is a beautiful album full of personal and honest songs.
[This review has been translated from Dutch. To read the original text please click the link below.]
C. Daniel Boling: Press/Reviews
C. Daniel Boling - These Houses - Berkalin
This represents the seventh release in a career that has seen this American Folk artist receive widespread acclaim for his singer-songwriter talents and compared to the artists like Steve Goodman, John Prine and Tom Paxton.
Of the 13 tracks here, 3 are co-writes with Tim Henderson (Buffalo Nickels/Miss Amelia Harris/Spinster) and Andrea Renfree (Growing Old in New Mexico), and there are also 2 songs inspired by the war veterans of a New Mexico organisation who helps with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (I Brought the War With Me/Crumble).
These are well-crafted story songs and influenced by his upbringing in a traveling Air Force family, along with some years spent as a National Park Ranger, a Criminal Investigator for the US Bureau of Land Management.
The assembled musicians serve the songs with quiet restraint and colour the words with sensitive playing around the arrangements.
The title track is right out of the great American folk tradition and it is no surprise that such a varied band of musicians assemble to pay tribute to the past as well as honouring the present. Songs such as I Will Not Go Gently and Leadbelly, Woody & Pete close the project with a nod to the struggle that continues… ‘We are here to make each other strong and whole…’ A fine performer and song-writing talent.
C. Daniel Boling
Rate 19 out of 20 points
Take note - C. Daniel Boling was born in Bremerhaven! His father was stationed there, but when Daniel was six months old he left Germany. Today he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the meantime he worked as a Park Ranger until, at the age of fifty, he decided to tour throughout the country and make music.
This musician casts a long shadow, but a positive one: he was the winner of the famous Kerrville New Folk Festival in 2014; and this is just one award in a long series begun in 2007 when he won the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriter Contest. And so we have arrived at his music - Folk! Folk in the way it was once played by musicians like Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie.
Daniel is a story-teller, and so his singing style with his friendly tenor voice is also a mixture of sung and almost spoken elements. These songs fit life as closely as a hand fits a glove, and we find autobiographical features in his lyrics. These are quite peppered with different societal-critical and self-critical and winking elements. For example, we learn something about Bessie Steen, who with her new knees at the age of 93 still drives old masters to church in her car – delicious and loving!
As is typical for folk, the arrangements are quite sparse, but this is not true of expressive power. This is inversely proportional. I was fortunate to be able to experience the music live, and I could tell what tremendous strength was in his voice and how he could formulate his messages very impressively.
“These Houses” is Daniel’s seventh album, and once again it is a very excellent one. The music radiates again this wonderful, calm sea of emotions in which one can bathe well. There are wonderful subtleties within the arrangements that make each song special and build tension. An example is the particularly moving song "I Brought the War with Me”, dealing with a theme which is unfortunately always current. Daniel’s guitar is joined by two musicians from Pakistan, Shakoor Fakir, who plays a Kamacho, a traditional string instrument, and Ali Mohammad, who plays an instrument called Changg, evidently a kind of shell also used as a trumpet in Hindu rituals. It would be interesting to record a whole album with these two musicians … perhaps in the future? After all, it is said that when the Changg is blown it announces the victory of good over evil. Yes, that would be nice – it would work.
In summary, Daniel once again presents an excellent record currently unparalleled in the great jungle of contemporary music. You'll find an excellent and watchful songwriter who knows how to tell stories, maybe even like colleagues Steve Goodman or Tom Paxton. This music comes from the heart and from deep inside, you can feel it very clearly. And when you know Daniel personally, you know that he means it honestly and that the mood of the music clearly mirrors him, and his wife Ellen. Inside the jewel case is a very warm photo of this happy couple. Thanks, Daniel, for this wonderful music and sharing a great friendship. And thanks to Ellen too – take care of your always young husband!
Incidentally, part of the proceeds of this record go to an association in Albuquerque which accepts war veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
[This review was originally printed in German -- please click the link below to go to the original text.]
C. DANIEL BOLING "These Houses" (Berkalin Records)
Very good indeed!
"C. Daniel Boling is what one calls a late-bloomer. He was 50 before he took his songs on the road, gathering success with that pretty soon after starting. Only two years ago he was the laureate at the renowned Kerrville New Folk Songwriters Competition. His seven albums to date are highly regarded by fans and critics alike.
With his unparalleled warm tenor voice and his instantly recognizable style of guitar playing as his most important allies, for well over 45 minutes on his latest album produced by Jono Manson, he again shows just why he's so highly regarded by all. Following in the footsteps of many great artists like Steve Goodman, James Taylor and Pete Seeger, Boling tells stories about the most diverse characters and facts, and frequently also about himself and his dearest and nearest. On this CD “These Houses” he specifically touches on stories told to him by some war veterans in two fine songs – “I Brought the War with Me” and “Crumble”. As far as we are concerned the first is brought to a unique level by meaningful lyrics like “I never faced battle completely alone, till I brought the war with me when I came back home.”
Another such exquisite beauty of a song is “Mama’s Radio” in which Daniel remembers one of his own childhood birthdays. His mother, being poor and knowing she could not give him a birthday gift, wrote him a poem which she entered into a poetry contest held by a local radio station. You've guessed it – they won the competition winning not just a nice prize but a priceless memory. A warm memory shared with us song-wise by Boling, as with many other songs on this CD. This style of storytelling reminded us a bit of the recent material by the German troubadour Reinhard Mey. Just like him, C. Daniel Boling succeeds with ease to touch his listening audience. Why? Because so much of what he tells us we recognize in ourselves."
[Reviewed January, 2017 in CTRL. ALT. COUNTRY - Belgium. Please click the link below to read the original review in Dutch.]
“In the songs on his latest album ‘These Houses’, American folk singer and songwriter C. Daniel Boling reflects on nostalgic themes from his childhood. He also honours his heroes, ranging from war veterans to his musical inspirations like folk stars Leadbelly, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. These naked, pure and honest stories are the strongest elements on his newest record, next to the accompanying acoustic music.”
C. Daniel Boling - Sleeping Dogs
The dogs of C. Daniel Boling don’t belong to the same family as Tom Waits’ dogs tramping in the rain. They go to bed. But their dreams are not golden ones. They get lost in the darkness which still surprises them, twisting their stomachs and pounding in their brains. Bad beast, memory, it won’t let sleep return even for the brief curve of a night.
Daniel is from New Mexico. From the land of Breaking Bad he’s given light to an album with lyrics and sounds so essential they combine mind and heart as pure chemistry. Acoustic guitar, harmonica, mandolin, cello, tuba, a pinch of dobro and some delicate percussion. And then his voice. Calm and steady like the perfect storyteller, in the footsteps of Eric Andersen’s Violets of Dreams and Jackson Browne.
Vagabond is in Boling’s blood. A child in Okinawa with his soldier dad – then a Bukowskian series of jobs such as a park ranger and investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and then at the relatively young age of 50 … a traveling folk singer (if Seasick Steve began at 70 ...). Now he releases his fifth title, Sleeping Dogs, produced by Jono Manson (do you remember Barnetti Bros Band?), who occasionally lends his voice on the album as well. With this record we hold a treasure in our hands – the most sincerely enjoyable music today’s Americana well can deliver. A 13-song personal investigation where the tale touches moments of family life, individual cracks from the collection of years the author has in his pockets, reflections on the seasons that always deliver us a new morning from which it’s possible to start again.
Among the songs there’s no hit single – Boling has preferred to frame the songs just like they were each part of a unique verbal tale, respecting the high mood that the first song (Moderation) succeeds in creating so well. Do you have in mind when a grandpa says to his grandchildren on the porch, "Listen to me now, I will tell you this story"? The children are captivated from the first second. Well, this happens with Sleeping Dogs – the folk and the blues offer a wholesome, steady gust of wind that goes along with this man with the beard, whose gaze and voice persuade us we do not need to go on strengthening the little bunker we’ve spent our whole life building around us against all humanity.
Corrado Ori Tanzi
In the long line of storytellers, we present to you C. Daniel Boling of the great city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The man has a life of work (law enforcement … with a gun!) and travel behind him as he decides to throw himself into music full-time in his fifties. So far this has resulted in six CDs, the latest of which recently appeared on the highly regarded Berkalin label.
Daniel has a pleasant tenor voice and writes beautiful songs. He sings and plays the guitar and banjitar - a hybrid of banjo and guitar - accompanied on bass, percussion, dobro, cello, mandolin, harmonica, piano, tuba and second guitar (only one song has percussion, even light percussion).
These are thirteen gems by Daniel -- songs about people, including himself, with a philosophical tint. Think of a subtle intermixture of Steve Goodman, John Prine and Tom Paxton. In 'Someday' Boling provides a social element declaration: "Someday, someday, we will, we will understand. When we give as much respect to teachers as to movie stars, when we spend as much on homeless shelters as on prison bars, when we see our fellow man in need and give him some of ours”. In 'As Young as Your Kiss' he looks back at his (love) life: "Where did the years go so quickly, my love, how did we get to be gray. Decades go by in the blink of an eye, it still feels like yesterday the first time I heard you say love me forever and hold me right now." Simple, but effective.
I think this CD is a gift. Boling is not a novice after all, but maintains himself effortlessly among the large contingent of subtle, good singer- songwriters. Just a very nice CD!
Real Roots Café
From Le Cri du Coyote – review by Sam Pierre
SLEEPING DOGS – C. Daniel Boling – Berkalin Records
Among the artists published by the label Berkalin Records, there are a few names who command respect: Brian Kalinec the founder, but also Bob Cheevers, Jeff Talmadge, Matt Harlan and Tim Henderson. In this list (not exhaustive) we must now add the name of C. Daniel Boling, a songwriter based in Albuquerque, New Mexico who, after years in the National Parks and as a criminal investigator, began to tour as singer at the age of 50.
Sleeping Dogs is his sixth album and reveals, to those who do not yet know his music, lyrics and melody full of finesse, a sensitive singer and a talented guitarist. He also plays the Banjitar on “Moderation”, the opening track in which he states that the moderation is not his friend. Thirteen tracks comprise the album which offers a beautiful array of portraits of various characters (including Daniel himself) and reflections on topics as diverse as religion, love, fishing, equality, and just how life happens. The instrumental accompaniment is always light, one or two acoustic guitars, sometimes cello, mandolin or dobro (and even two dobros on “Doesn’t Get Better Than This”).
Guest vocalists include Larkin Gayl, producer Jono Manson and 2 - Bit Palomino at full strength (Andi and Ren Renfree and Bill Ward). Their voices are also accompanied by the cello of Deborah Barbe. Daniel takes his leave with Summer Sweetcorn, full of nostalgic beauty that evokes the seasons but also the speed with which life ultimately passes. A good reason to replay “Moderation” ... without moderation!
Tags : C. Daniel Boling, Steve Goodman
C. Daniel Boling
It took a long time before Daniel Boling came to devote himself fully to music, for example, he did his first tour after he turned 50. At an age when others might be looking to put down their dreams of playing and touring, Boling to the contrary began to make things happen. There are some advantages to this approach which help to make his sixth album Sleeping Dogs so good. He has a whole lifetime to tell you about. For example: he has experience from lifelong friendship put to the test; his cheeky child he nevertheless loves above all else; he has a wife; he has been part of the public debate. He has so much more to reference than a party-happy 25-year-old has.
On " Unraveled ", he talks to his mother about how it was for the family without her when she disappeared. Very strong. On "As Young as Your Kiss" he turns to his wife as they have throughout the years: "Love me forever and hold me right now / Gather our memories like this / I know we'll never be old anyhow / Anytime we reminisce / I'll be as young as your kiss." The title track is about all those things you dwell on and ponder, even though it doesn’t help anything and you know it doesn’t; small injustices and things one would have said or done differently: "I've been saving up things to blame myself about / Late at night they clamor in my mind." "Never Speak to Me Again" is sung to the son he has just quarreled with - leading to a fine meditation on life and unconditional love. The recognition factor is high. "Hooked " is disguised as a fish story that is probably really about love, and "It's His Voice She Hears " is a very touching song of a woman losing her husband after fifty years and all that entails. Perhaps the best moment is the angry "Dark Secrets " - a song that speaks to those people who open up too much to their friends, with the only goal being to numb their own shame and guilt.
As I have said, the lyrics are very strong and musically I think a little of Steve Goodman in the fine guitar playing and that Boling has an equally gentle, kind and beautiful voice. Boling gives hope. It is never too late to become a singer / songwriter -- or to discover new ones.
A folksinger in his 50s from New Mexico, C. Daniel Boling is one of those characters who can keep you glued to his telling about a whole day in his life, without your getting bored at all. In fact, his life has seen him run far and wide across the world, first with the family in Japan to follow their military dad, then his first job as a ranger and later as an investigator, and in the end the decision to embrace the songwriting, which led to him playing throughout the States.
After debuting no longer young, a few years ago, and having lined up five discs, we find him with a new album "Sleeping Dogs", which contains thirteen songs produced by Jono Manson, our old friend and a musician whose vision we can certainly trust. Released by the tiny Berkalin Records label, the disc is characterized by purely acoustic atmospheres that blend country, folk and blues, reminiscent of the giants of songwriting in the USA.
Guitar, banjo, and a few other instruments enfold personal reflections and slices of life lived, ranging from love of family, the passing of the years and seasons, and his relationship with his wife ("As Young As Your Kiss") and with their children ("Never Speak To Me Again "), to touch the beautiful “Doesn’t Get Better Than This”. Listening reveals a songwriting craftsman, honest and sincere, whose lyrics open the heart, move us emotionally, make us smile, and let us reflect on the meaning of life.
Summits of the disc are the opening track "Moderation" in which Boling, with the complicity of Manson, reflects on his inability to moderate, and the gem that is "Hooked" performed on banjitar, a strange instrument halfway between banjo and sitar , with the sole accompaniment of Freebo on tuba. In short, C. Daniel Boling, while not shining for originality, with "Sleeping Dogs" gives us a fascinating album that's sure to inspire any who will devote their attention.
C. Daniel Boling - Sleeping Dogs
Produced by Jono Manson, a musician and producer in Santa Fe, New Mexico with whom Italy has a long and established relationship, Sleeping Dogs is the sixth album of American singer-songwriter C. Daniel Boling.
With a life lived in places around the world ranging from Texas to Japan, and a concert career begun at age 50, Boling gives you an album in which acoustic atmospheres dominate.
The real protagonists of this work are the songs, and they are enriched by sparse arrangements with just a few instruments with measured touches that are never invasive. The album owes something to blues, to folk, and to the school of the great songwriters and the American tradition.
Boling loves telling stories, many of which draw on personal matters: the story of how a marriage can maintain his poetry over the years (As Young as Your Kiss ), the relationship with their children (Never Speak to Me Again), love in its various nuances, the passage of time.
The CD opens beautifully with the song Moderation, in which Manson (as on several other tracks) is also involved as a musician, where Boling tells us that moderation is not his forte. Among the most interesting and original features of this work is the song Hooked, in which Boling sings and plays banjitar (a hybrid of banjo and guitar), accompanied only by bass tuba played by Freebo (who has worked with Bonnie Raitt).
This record is a gentle journey into the more intimate side of American singer-songwriters.
C. Daniel Boling "Sleeping Dogs"
Berkalin Records, 2013
(click for video)
Albuquerque based singer/songwriter C. Daniel Boling recorded 13 original songs for his sixth album together with producer Jono Manson and a few guest musicians introducing them almost one by one.
Daniel starts off on his banjitar, singing the rhythmic “Moderation”, accompanied by Justin Branford on upright bass, Auge Hays on Dobro, backing vocals and Andy Prim’s percussion pace. Following up are some hush songs like the sad guitar ballad “Unraveled” with Deborah Barbe on cello and John Egenes on Weissenborn guitar or the melancholic title song, introducing Ben Wright on second guitar and Jono Manson’s second voice. One of my favourites is the New Mexican style Blues “Doesn’t get better than this”, two Dobros, mandolin and harmonica (Egenes and Hays), guitar and a duet with Texas Singer Andi Renfree make you swing along. Other highlights are “Hooked”, a light-hearted song about love with Freebo playing a duet on tuba with Daniel on banjitar, or “Someday”, a protest song featuring an eight voices gospel choir, upright bass and banjitar.
Boling has a beautiful singing voice and is a fine guitar player and thanks to the great guest musicians and singers the recording is full of perfectly stable music.
SummerFolk Festival review...
... "Somewhere Down the Road" there's a song worth singing, a Bill Staines lyric, introduced New Mexico guitar player and singer Daniel Boling who also blew harmonica and performed extraordinary songs of sentiment as well as a little ditty about leaving the gene pool about which Darwin would be so proud.
... The 2010 Summer Folk Festival provided a pleasurable, personable performance, a mighty warm wind to rival Mother Nature's coastal malevolence in the Key of W.
"Daniel Boling is a sensitive man. Many of his songs are like little books as he is one of the rare few who can write a song with a worthy plot. Through well-done arrangements with clever instrumentals and thought-provoking lyrics with warm vocal renditions, his latest CD, HE DREAMS, will touch you in ways that will make you grateful. His remarkably committed gifts continue to bless and inspire us."
30-minute live radio interview with Daniel, including three songs performed live in the broadcast studio
FOLK ON THE PLATTER By Brent Jeffries
SOUND WAVES - Georgian Bay Folk Society
Volume 35, Issue 3 - April 13, 2010 (Page 4)
C. Daniel Boling - He Dreams - 2009 Perfectly Stable Music
If you enjoy the finer things in life…such as… insightful subtle songs crafted about everyday people, doing everyday things, while trying to survive in a world full of everyday opportunities, then this is a disc for you. The fourth release from Daniel Boling is a triumph.
Recorded in his own "Perfectly Stable Music Studio" in New Mexico; this disc has an almost live, "off the floor" feel to it. Assisted by some of his friends, including the incomparable Jack Williams on second guitar on "Here" and the up-and-coming songwriter Meredith Wilder on "Tell Me You Love Me So", he gives a heartfelt performance. Thirteen songs, Thirteen stories, Thirteen examples of art imitating life. His tales are drawn from his life; the lives of his family and friends; and sometimes they just come from perfect strangers; acquaintances met on the road while touring coast-to-coast with a guitar, a songbook and a smile.
Boling has spent the last ten years entertaining at festivals and song-writing contests, with an articulate finger-picking style and a crisp tenor voice. He sings about homelessness on "He Dreams"; waiting and worrying on "Till I’m Finished Being Scared" and a widow’s love featured in song with Suzanne Shelton on cello on "Katie’s Garden". Track five on the disc entitled "Jesse" is a poignant piece of music, garnering first place in 2007 at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriter Contest. The track features Daniel on guitar and banjo. This eulogy celebration by a ghost could very well be the artist's testimony to a lifelong passion of performing.
As a storyteller Boling eloquently explains the best and worst traits of his father in "An Awful Lot Like Me" and he gives thanks and praise to the friends he has made on the road as a troubadour on "Every Journey". Still on the Hill, who have performed at Summerfolk say that this is "one of those great, rare CD’s that will remain on the top of our stack for years to come… wonderful songs about things that really matter" and Steve Gillette calls it "great work… very strong songwriting, vocals and exquisite guitar playing".
There is a wonderful story of a couple who tenderly remember that they promised to "love, honor, and take the blame" for each other in "Tell Me You Love Me So (Much You Could Die) and an equally tender story of a Viet Nam veteran anguishing and regretting over his departed youth in "I Took the King’s Coin".
Visit the website www.DanielBoling.com
Georgian Bay Folk Society
1235 3rd Avenue East
Owen Sound, ON N4K 5R1
In its nearly 40-year history, the Kerrville Folk Festival has become an 18-day celebration of song writing. Many of the festival’s fans say the magic doesn't take place on stage. Away from the lights of the main stage and the bustling campgrounds is Chapel Hill.
"It’s a really special place to folks. We do services and weddings and all kinds of things up there," festival producer Dalis Allen said.
Daniel Boling is from New Mexico. He comes to Chapel Hill to play and to be amazed. "They know they're going to hear a bunch of good songs there that they aren't going to hear on the main stage," Boling said. The singers could be a main stage performer or an artist's first time playing in public. Anyone can sign up and play a song.
David Broyles is from Oklahoma. He normally plays with a band called Dr. Pants, but Chapel Hill allows him and others to do their own thing. "You can get 15 different people who have 15 totally different ways of expressing themselves just with a guitar and their voice," he said. Artist after artist and song after song, the music stretches through the afternoon.
"The spirit of Kerrville has remained consistent for however many years it's been," Boling said. For Boling, it has been 39 years. He said he tries to come back every year. "My children were largely raised here. My daughter, who is with me now, is going to turn 24 in August. She came here the first time when my wife was eight months pregnant with her," he said. That kind of fan dedication has earned Kerrville its reputation. "This festival is about songwriters, whether they're known or unknown. Everybody wants to hear that song and it's really special," Boling said.
The festival creates an atmosphere where fans can become participants. The scenery makes for a summer camp-like environment focused on the love of song. "You just come out here and do what you do and that's a reward in itself," Broyles said.
Guitarist C. Daniel Boling of Albuquerque is a thinking person's singer/songwriter. He crafts songs that carry thoughtful messages and intriguing stories that are part of America's long folk music tradition. Boling sings convincingly and earnestly. His new CD contains 13 songs that are uniformly irresistible.
The title song is one man's somber reflection of a life that may hold little consolation except dreaming of his youth. One particular verse encapsulates that depressing sentiment: "Back in the '60s the world was all promise / Whatever he wished could be his / Now he's in his sixties - that promise lies broken / This pile of nothing is all that there is."
"I Took the King's Coin" is a similar view from the perspective of a man who looks back on his life. As a young man he had gone off to fight in the Vietnam War. He returned, and begins living a nomadic life: "But sooner or later this life on the road / Claims a toll greater than I thought I owed..."
The cut "Katie's Garden" evokes a sadness that verges on tears. That's because Katie is no longer alive and the singer musters the emotional strength to tend to her green chiles and tomato plants. The song concludes with these two lines, "But Katie lives inside me / Helping make her garden mine." Suzanne Shelton's cello adds gravity.
Perhaps the most cheerful song on the album is Boling's duet with Meredith Wilder on "Tell Me You Love Me So." It's about the need of a married couple to continue through life to tell each other what the title declares.
The song "A Million Little Things" is funny in its quirkiness. The singer relates how a woman wants what she wants, and her demands are condensed in these two lines of the song: "If you'd just change a million little things / You'd be the perfect guy for me."
A round stamp on the cover of Boling's CD says that he was the first-place songwriter at the 2007 Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. Boling is a good reason for local folks to pay more attention to who's in their backyard.
C. Daniel Boling is an Albuquerque singer-songwriter with a special gift. Boling's story-songs -- of remembering family, of coming of age, of loving life -- are honest without being sappy and his style comes straight out of the honored American folksinging tradition.
Part of Boling's gift is felt in the warmth of his voice, the directness of his lyrics and the simplicity of the melodies.
Take, for example, the opening selection, which is the title cut. Here is an excerpt: "I see we've all made our way back again where our spirits are made new. We gather here to share this time from all life's many walks... to share the music, to share our songs, to sit alone and talk."
Two songs that speak to the working man and woman are the thoughtful "Who I Am" and the kicky "Mid-Week Blues." Here's a line from the blues: "Some day I'd like to not show up and never even call. Stay at home and lie in bed and not get up at all."
"Who I Am" advises that we shold not let our jobs define us: "This is the job that feeds my family. But it's not who I am, just what I do."
Boling has received some recognition, he was a finalist in the singer-songwriter category of the South Florida Folk Festival. Boling deserves recognition in his hometown so you can say, "I knew him when...".
The Old International is unquestionably a modern, very American folk album, owing more of its sound to the protest tunes of the 1960s than the traditional ballads that fill Renaissance fairs. While borrowing from the acoustic tradition of the modern folk classicist, C.Daniel Boling picks out a songwriting ground of his own, based less in societal observation than self-help.
It's not especially uncovered ground, advocating self-control, appreciation of others and forgiveness over anger. These insights are nonetheless valid, but the strength of their expression comes from finding a new, true way of sharing them. The echoing, somewhat haunting "Shay," about a rare afternoon treat for a boy ostracized by Down's syndrome, is a far more layered and powerful picture of acceptance than the preachy "From Your Side." Boling does well when he can mix his earnest therapies with a dose of humor. "Mama's Words" acknowledges the tensions of familial relationships along with Mama's immeasurable value, and "What Might Be In It" offers a lesson in overconsumption safely hidden in a plate of wry buffet observations.
Unfortunately, Boling sometimes succumbs to the urge to tell, not show, and delivers a few heavy-handed morality tales. "I Dreamed I was Dead" offers a rather predictable and self-loathing look at life from an angry half of a partnership, and the title song -- an otherwise effective history of an old car -- kills the message it tries to carry by spelling it out in an unneeded chorus.
The songs may be sometimes unapproachable, but Boling himself never is. He has a pleasant but limited voice, high and a bit rough around the edges, and clearly not "trained." Without forcing himself beyond his range, he carries the emotional weight of even his weaker songs through a storyteller's vocal quirks. His choked, resolved attitude turns "Flight 93" from a simplistic bit of storytelling to a real tearjerker, and his defiant self-defense in "It Can Be This Way Always" enables the song's protagonist to seem more human and less antagonistic.
The Old International offers a mixed bag of songs, and most listeners will pick and choose their favorites. But Boling has a real treat, the smooth, jazzy "Upbeat" waiting in an extremely hidden track at the end of the album. It covers approximately the same territory seen in the earlier songs, condemning anger and encouraging self-improvement, but does so with a sly self-knowledge and a devilish flair that give the message a much sharper sting. It's a strange wake-up call after a mostly relaxed album, and makes Boling's previous choice of tone seem peculiar.
Hopefully Boling will explore his rowdier nature more in upcoming albums. In the meantime, those looking for a calm moment in their day could do worse than get behind The Old International.
...Award-winning songwriter C. Daniel Boling of New Mexico by way of Kentucky entertained in fine troubadour style accompanying himself on guitar and six-string banjo—tuned like a guitar. Daniel’s interesting originals, including TV Commercial Dream Song and Out Of The Gene Pool Darwin Award, balanced with the perennial Shady Grove and Lisbeth Cotton’s guitar dazzler Freight Train...