Daniel Romano doesn’t break any new ground on Come Cry With Me, but that doesn’t seem to be the point. This is his third solo outing and is about as country as they come.
Based around twangy guitars and accented with pedal steel and fiddle, the instrumentation — mostly performed by Romano himself — is robust and well conceived, but apart from a haunting riff on “He Let Her Memory Go” there isn’t anything musically that stands out.
But perhaps that was the intention; for the solid, no frills country music to provide the perfect vehicle for Romano’s vocals and storytelling. Indeed, his lyrics are the real gem of this album and they save it from being a country music parody, no matter what the cover might suggest.
While much of the subject matter on this record is covered with the dusty bootprints of the genre, Romano’s treatment of it is so heartfelt that each wound seems freshly inflicted.
On tracks like “A New Love (Can Be Found),” his vocals are laden with pain and are so present and intimate that you can almost smell the whisky on his breath.
And although you immediately know how “Just Before the Moment” is going to end, Romano’s deft ability with words make it a journey worth taking.
None of the songs on Come Cry With Me match the brilliance of “Time Forgot (To Change My Heart)” from 2011’s Sleep Beneath the Willow, but the album as a whole is more cohesive, as if Romano has become increasingly confident with his country persona.
This confidence is most evident on Come Cry With Me‘s two standout moments. The first is “I’m Not Crying”, a track that could be mistaken for a Hank Williams tune thanks to Romano’s beautifully delivered, tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
The second moment is the juxtaposition of rollicking stomper “Chicken Bill” with the country ballad “When I Was Abroad.” These two songs, when listened to in their proper order on the album, will make you smile no matter how heavy your heart is. That’s a genuine promise.