Photography by: Matt Sawyer

Kevin Daniels is one of the most truly original folk musicians of our generation. Beneath the music, he is one of the most genuine, kind-hearted people Iʼve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Chicago born and bred, he works full time as a union contractor, and uses the majority of his spare time writing and playing live shows around the city. He released his debut album Thirteen Live in an Empty Room earlier this year.

After listening to the entire album, one would never guess that Kevin has had zero musical training. His raw talent is something that can’t be overlooked. He believes in every song he writes, and each track is fuming with passion. His blend of acoustic guitar, harmonica, and raspy vocals gives the album true personality. Some of the top tracks off the album are “Crazy Kind of Life,” “Whiskey, Weed and Cigarettes,” “All We Had,” “Seen You Wasted,” and “Devilʼs Dance.”

“Crazy Kind of Life” is a song of determination, conveying a quiet desperation. It opens with a few haunting notes on the harmonica, and the chord progression builds toward the message to follow your passion in life. “Whiskey, Weed and Cigarettes” is a fun drinking song, and arguably one of the most popular tracks off the album. Itʼs a celebration of life, and Kevin’s skillful harmonica solo adds to that effect. “All We Had” is a piece about accepting the flaws in life and looking beyond them. It features a banjo solo by a talented banjo player and friend of Kevin’s, Johnny Prestipino, that drives the emotion in the song home.

“Seen You Wasted” features a kick drum beat and simple yet powerful chords, with an unexpected banjo melody layered in and a belting, almost angry vocal line that brings the energy in the song over the top. Finishing off the album, “Devilʼs Dance” is a call-and-response duet with female vocalist Dana Lynn. When listening to this track itʼs hard not fall into a bit of a trance.

Thirteen Live in an Empty Room is for sale on Amazon and iTunes. Download your copy now!