Daniel Romano, If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ - Album review

Download: I’m Gonna Teach You;  Old Fires Die; All the Way Under the Hill;  If I’ve Only One Time Askin’

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Canadian country stylist Romano calls his style, a blend of pedal steel-laced bar-room crooning tweaked with tints of accordion, piano and strings, as “mosey music” – though the pervasive streak of bitter self-pity running through the songs here rather militates against the implied nonchalance.

The first five tracks are segued together with strings, creating an emotionally powerful heartbreak suite in which the ghosts of Gram Parsons and George Jones loom large, from the violent revenge threat of “I’m Gonna Teach You”, through the bleak shadows of “Old Fires Die” and “Strange Faces”, to the posthumous plaint of the corpse chiding the lover who drove him to suicide in “All the Way Under the Hill”, which is about as dark as it gets.

But there’s a strange, comforting beauty to Romano’s sombre baritone.