The new album from the Welland, Ont.-bred, classic-country, indie-label troubadour, Daniel Romano, is If I've Only One Time Askin', a stylish disc of Americana music and classic storytelling. We spoke to the baritone honky-tonk believer by phone from the Netherlands.
I love your new album, the title track in particular. The song is arranged in a country-Americana manner, but I can imagine it done differently, in the seventies singer-songwriter style specifically.
Right on. I would love someone to do that.
We've talked about this before, about your wish to perform less, and to have other artists record your songs instead. Is that happening for you yet?
No. The trouble is people don't tend to focus on asking me about my songwriting. I don't think that word gets across at the public level. But there's also the thing where everybody's a songwriter.
It didn't used to be that way.
It's so weird. I don't know when that turned. Maybe it's Eddie Vedder's fault. Everybody has their own feelings, and they really want to talk about them.
Let's talk about your feelings. Your pedal steel player told me you don't like flying, and that whenever you tour in Europe and the U.K, you take a boat across the Atlantic.
It's not really a fear of the actual thing. The entire experience is so anxiety driven. It's just a pace I'm not used to, and I don't care for it. I don't need to go through that, so I just cut it out. I put myself through enough just doing this job.
If only we could return to the carefree days of Pan American World Airways. Flying was more easygoing and sexier then I think.
Exactly. What the hell happened to that? The pilot doesn't greet you now. You get a bag of peanuts, you shut up and you sit really close to somebody.
So, you take ships instead, by cruise ship or by working freighter. Which do you prefer?
The Queen Mary 2 is the way to go. It's a quick trip, and it's still got some class left.
And what's bunking on a freighter like?
It's way more of a pain to book, and it's more expensive and less enjoyable. I don't really recommend it. You eat with the captain and the crew. There's 18 people on the ship, if all the room's are booked, with a maximum of five guests. You can only smoke inside. You're not allowed to smoke outside.
Your new publicity photos have you in modern suit and tie. What happened to the retro Nashville suit you wore for the last album?
I don't want to put myself in a box. For [2013's] Come Cry With Me, I wore a crazy suit and a hat on the album cover, and I could kick myself for that. I hadn't thought about the implications of that, and how literal that might have been taken. I don't want to be in that club. I mean, it's not even a club.
On Aug. 7, Daniel Romano plays the Wolfe Island Music Festival, Frontenac Islands, wolfeislandmusicfestival.com