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Single Review: Daniel Pearson – 4th July

By on Friday, 17th June 2016 at 1:00 pm

Words by Aine Cronin-McCartney

Acclaimed Americana troubadour Daniel Pearson’s latest musical offering ‘4th July’ is a compelling 3 minutes of chugging guitars and enthusiastic harmonica playing. The song, which will be released this coming Friday, instantly captivates, with Pearson’s own signature styling of country and pop, amalgamated together to create the perfect mesmeric melody.

Having previously released his music independently, Pearson is certainly a rare, but true indie artist, something which has proved valuable to his appeal. This charm has helped him to amass a legion of dedicated fans through word of mouth and has meant success both in real life and on social media. Over the course of three albums, Pearson has honed his own sound alternating between acoustic narratives, to poignant country rock and simple garage blues. Arriving at the sound we can hear on ‘4th July’ with visceral vocals and intuitive melodies, Pearson has made sure to set himself apart from the well churned out pop machine of artists we are so used to hearing.

Pearson’s lyrics on this song are efficiently simple but yet effective. Together with his seductive vocal tone, he’s crafted the consummate country ballad. Citing Elliot Smith, Guthrie and Springsteen as significant influences, it comes as no surprise that many of Pearson’s songs contain lyrical tales entwined throughout his tracks. This one tells us of deceit, dishonesty and love gone awry.

The harmonies present are incredibly reminiscent of Johnny and June on some of their famous songs such as ‘Jackson’. The inclusion of a female vocal helps create a feeling of friction and tension between two fighting lovers. The emotional effortlessness of the lyrics ‘I told a lie on the 4th of July, I said you were the only one’, while unassuming, will still strike a chord with anyone who has been lied to or betrayed in a relationship When combined with the song’s intricate instrumentation and appealing arrangement, with its up-tempo and lively atmosphere, helps make ‘4th July’ an infectiously delicious and addictive country pop number.


‘4th July’, the new single by Daniel Pearson, is out today, the 17th of June, on Saint in the City. For more on Pearson on TGTF, go here.


Daniel Pearson / July 2014 UK Tour

By on Friday, 9th May 2014 at 9:30 am

Leeds-based singer/songwriter Daniel Pearson has announced a list of July tour dates to follow his recent appearance at Live at Leeds and the release of his latest EP ‘Escape Acts’ (which we reviewed here). He is also offering a free download of ‘Waves in the Sea’, from his debut album ‘Satellites’; find it below the tour date listing.

Tuesday 22nd July 2014 – Liverpool Zanzibar
Thursday 24th July 2014 – London Water Rats
Friday 25th July 2014 – Birmingham Talk
Monday 28th July 2014 – York Fibbers
Wednesday 30th July 2014 – Hebden Bridge Trades Club
Thursday 31st July 2014 – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s


Album Review: Daniel Pearson – Escape Acts EP

By on Thursday, 17th April 2014 at 12:00 pm

Escape Acts EP CoverEnglish singer/songwriter Daniel Pearson has just released a new EP, ‘Escape Acts’, leading into his appearance at Live at Leeds next month. In his recent interview with us, Pearson described ‘Escape Acts’ as an intermediate step between albums and an opportunity to fine tune a couple of his previous recordings. Along with two reworked tracks, the EP is bookended by two new tracks intended to whet the appetites of his growing audience.

The songs on ‘Escape Acts’ are somewhat varied in terms of musical style, but Pearson has pointed to the lyrical theme of “escaping or wanting to escape” as a unifying factor on the EP. Opening track ‘Lost My Way’ (video below) is a fairly straightforward rock number with a punchy “na-na-na” chorus. The lyrics in its verses reflect Pearson’s struggles as an indie artist, “Tell me I’ll never eat lunch in this town again / I need to be told everything twice / Keep your enemies closer than your friends / I got sick of taking bad advice”.


‘Promises Promises’ is a tighter, cleaner version of the guitar-driven, blues rock-flavored track ‘Promises’, from 2012 release ‘Mercury State’. The vocals are featured more prominently in the sound mix of the new version, which I felt was a step in the right direction for a writer whose lyrics are really the distinguishing factor in his music. Pearson similarly focuses on the poignant lyrics of ‘Satellite Town’, giving it a little more space and vocal expression here than in the original version from 2011’s ‘Satellites’. New track ‘I Dug Myself a Hole’ has a bit of a country twang behind its electric guitar riff and a haunting backing vocal in the final chorus, which finally hits Pearson’s emotional mark at the very end of the EP.

‘Escape Acts’ is a solid group of songs that gives a nice taste of what Pearson is capable of as a songwriter. The simplicity and emotional value of the lyrics is appealing, but the unadorned melodies and sparse instrumental arrangements left me wanting more from Pearson’s rather detached vocal delivery. In spite of that, his lyrics do strike an emotional chord, and the raw authenticity of these songs is certainly the strong point of both the new and revised recordings.


‘Escape Acts’ is out now on Saint In The City Records.


Quickfire Questions #74: Daniel Pearson

By on Wednesday, 9th April 2014 at 1:00 pm

Indie English singer/songwriter Daniel Pearson is busy preparing for the upcoming release of his EP ‘Escape Acts’ on the 14th of April and a scheduled performance at Live at Leeds on the 3rd of May. He took the time to answer our Quickfire Questions as part of an e-mail interview, which you can read here.

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Oh man, Phil Collins, I think. My parents liked him and I remember that. My first record was actually ‘TURTLE POWER’ from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I must’ve been 8 or something. I’ve still got it on vinyl somewhere, and yep, I’m proud of it!

What song makes you laugh?
A lot of Eminem’s stuff makes me laugh out loud. He gets away with some crazy things about celebrities.

What song makes you cry?
‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys. It’s perfect.


What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
When I had my very first girlfriend, she used to love Blur and I used to love Oasis so we’d listen to their albums and argue over who was better. And then make out. So anything from ‘Parklife’ or ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)’ reminds me of that.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Bruce Springsteen – ‘Born To Run’. It’s brilliant, and distills everything that’s great about rock n’ roll into 4 minutes. You hear that at a show, and you realize what being alive is all about. [I think I could only love this answer more if he’d chosen ‘Thunder Road’. -C.C.]


Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I couldn’t choose just one! Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain and Ryan Adams would be high on the list. So would a lot of writers, screenwriters and poets. I think we should celebrate creativity and imagination more, ‘cos it’s dying out in the mainstream.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’d be an English teacher. I was one. I love books and performing and doing good things for people, so it’s a good fit. The idealist in me loved it, but the reality is very different and very misunderstood. Aside from that, playing for my beloved Everton FC would be a dream occupation!

Special thanks to Daniel for taking the time to answer our questions and also thank you to Jamie for helping sort this out for us.


Interview: Daniel Pearson

By on Tuesday, 8th April 2014 at 3:00 pm

Singer/songwriter Daniel Pearson is a true “indie” artist, releasing music on his own record label and promoting his work on the Internet via social media. His most recent studio project is an EP titled ‘Escape Acts’, due for release on the 14th of April. His previous albums ‘Satellites’ and ‘Mercury State’ both received positive critical reviews and earned him more than a few fans along the way. Following the release of ‘Escape Acts’, Pearson is scheduled to appear at Leeds music venue Milo as part of this year’s Live at Leeds Festival on the 3rd of May. We caught up with him for an e-mail interview before that flurry of activity, and he was kind enough to share with us his down-to-earth perspective on the past, present, and future of his music career.

You’re a new artist to TGTF, but you’re not new to the music business. Could you give us a little background on your career? (Have you played in other bands? What kinds of music have you played previously?)
I’ve been a solo artist for the last few years and have released two albums, ‘Satellites’ and ‘Mercury State’. I’m a fairly prolific writer so I wanted to get music out there quickly – I don’t really need a year to write and record an album and like to keep momentum building. I try to keep things independent and honest and people respond to that. Before going solo I was playing in different rock ‘n’ roll and punk-type bands and that taught me a lot about songwriting and performing. I did that as soon as I started playing guitar as a 15-year old – no YouTube covers, no talent shows. Just straight into writing songs and playing them in bands at gigs. It wasn’t all good stuff! But you learn what works and what you want to say in your music.

As far as genre is concerned, I find it increasingly difficult to put artists into neat little boxes. As one of those genre-bending types yourself, how would you classify your own music?
It falls under the singer-songwriter bracket for sure, but that’s such a strange term that it can be a good or a bad thing. It can mean anything from James Blake to a kid uploading ukulele Ed Sheeran covers in his bedroom. I love guitars and melodies, so that’s always going to be a big part of what I do. There are rock n’ roll, grunge, country, folk and pop influences, but I think it all comes out sounding like me in the end.

Your new EP ‘Escape Acts’ contains four new recordings, two of which are new songs and two of which are reworkings of songs you’ve already released, is that correct? How did you decide which songs to include, and what was the reason for reworking the two older tunes?
At the moment I’m kind of in between albums; ‘Satellites’ established me as a solo act, which was the first step, and that was very much a relationships album. It got some good press and radio support and built a small fan base. ‘Mercury State’ was a more serious record about the recession and hard times, and was much more sparse and downbeat. The reviews I had for that were great and I felt like it was much more of a statement piece.

Since then, I’ve been working hard to expand my audience, and ‘Escape Acts’ is a natural part of that. I’ve got songs for the next album, but there’s no theme connecting them yet, so it made sense to put a couple of the new songs out there for people. I want to wait a while before I put out another full album – three inside 3 years might be overkill! The re-recorded songs were done because I felt like I hadn’t done them justice the first time around, that there was more to be done with them. The arrangement on ‘Promises Promises’ is much bigger, and the version of ‘Satellite Town’ is the way I’ve been playing it live, which I think is much more subtle than the originally recorded song.

On first listen, the ‘Escape Acts’ EP is quite eclectic, in that each of the four songs has its own unique flavor. (‘Lost My Way’ has a kind of pop sense to it, ‘Promises Promises’ is more of a blues rock, ‘Satellite Town’ is acoustic folkish, and ‘I Dug Myself a Hole’ feels almost like a country song.) What is the common thread that unifies them on the EP?
They’re all diverse songs, which I think reflects the different aspects of my songwriting. I like to change things up a little and keep it interesting. Lyrically, they’re all about escaping or wanting to escape from a situation in your life, so that’s why I think they hang together as an EP. I think everyone experiences those feelings at points in your life.

The most obvious common feature among these three recordings is your lyrics. I would describe your lyrical style as very straightforward and uncomplicated, occasionally elegant, but always emotional. Would you say that’s a fair assessment? Is that the effect you’re going for, or do you have an intended effect at all?
I’ve been going through a process of refining my lyrics and trying to distill them down to something universal and simple. It can be really easy to write overly complex lyrics and get too sophisticated – but in most cases you can say what you want in less words. I love poetry and the work that speaks to me the most is the most emotionally direct, the stuff without pretension. So I’m going for that rather than trying to cram in sophisticated words and too many syllables. I actually like repetition in writing – that idea of repeating the key message, or making subtle changes to a lyric as a song progresses to change the meaning. The audience is so eager to move on to the next song, the next band, the next thing, so you’ve gotta get your point across quickly and in a memorable way.

I understand that all of your records are released on your own label, Saint In The City Records. Would you like to tell us a little bit about how that came about?
When I recorded ‘Satellites’, I spent a while shopping it around labels looking for distribution but the whole process was kind of self-defeating. You get into discussions about how they think it should sound or find yourself waiting to hear back a lot. You end up looking for validation from others too much, and I’ve seen bands chewed up and spat out by the industry and how it works. So I got sick of waiting around and decided to put it out myself. I figured that I knew enough about it to at least have a go, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. It’s very hard as an independent artist, as people judge you against X or Y band who might have a million dollar recording, marketing and touring budget from a label. I think that in the mind of some people, they can’t see past what’s on Radio 1 or MTV and assume because you’re not on there, you can’t be any good. But it feels great to be in control and know that any success that comes my way has been earned and not bought. There are more and more indie success stories coming through and it’s awesome to be a part of that.

You’ve mentioned on Twitter several people who worked with you on the ‘Escape Acts’ EP. Would you like to give us a little more information about them here as well?
I’m lucky in that I have talented friends who’ll work with me on my projects. Ed Heaton is a great producer who worked on ‘Escape Acts’ and ‘Satellites’, and he really knows how to get the best out of me. He works out of Eiger Studios in Leeds, it’s a great set up and he’s worked on a lot of good records. He’s just set up his own label too called All My Friends. I’d recommend him to anyone looking for a studio and producer. Jeremy Platt is a longtime friend of mine, and he’s played on most of my records – he’s so talented, it makes you sick! He can play piano, organ, bass and it all sounds great. He’s put out his own album and it’s good stuff. Ed Fielding is another guy I mentioned on Twitter – he’s a really cool photographer who’s worked with Florence and the Machine and Paloma Faith. It’s nice to have people you can call on, good people you can trust and it’s nice to give them some support back.

Speaking of Twitter, that is how you and I came into acquaintance. You seem to be quite active on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Have you found social media to be a good way to reach out to new fans?
I think it’s the future, but it’s already here! If I want to tell my fans about a release, or show them a video, I can let them know there and then it removes the middle man. I’m a big believer in interacting with people; after all, these are the people buying your records and tickets, so I’m amazed when bands think they’re too cool to do all that.

Twitter’s been an invaluable tool for me in building and interacting with my audience, and I think its part of our lives now. Facebook is the biggest fish in the sea, but it’s gotten greedy – now I have to pay so that my fans can see my posts easily, so I’m not so crazy about that platform right now. Of course, when you level the playing field it means everyone can join in – and that means people are bombarded with a lot of bad music too. I think key to using it well is being yourself and not having a superiority complex. The folks you’re interacting with are usually pretty smart, so if you’re a good, interesting person with something of value to offer they’ll get on board with what you’re doing. Just like you did!

Cheers Daniel for answering our questions! Stay tuned for his answers to our Quickfire Questions to post tomorrow, as well as a review of ‘Escape Acts’. In the meantime, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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