April 18th was National Record Store Day, what better excuse to get up early and catch a great in store performance from Daniel Chase, at Newbury Comics. Earlier in the week I had heard of Motif Magazine’s local music poll from some friends that had been nominated, and hurriedly checked out the poll. There were a ton of acts I’d yet to hear, being a sucker for singers songwriters and unaware of any in the area I focused on that category and did some myspace research.
Nicole and I wiped the slumber from our eyes around 10am, giving me plenty of time to caffeinate myself, shower and take her home. After meandering through Providence, I secured free parking next to the State House (yay for no meter fees on the weekends), thus saving myself from the Providence Place Parking Labyrinth, complete with ludicrous fees. Overjoyed with my parking spot, I strutted the two blocks to the mall, on the first halfway decent (not a deluge) day in weeks. Arriving at the mall four floors below and diametrically opposed from my destination I started the indoor journey, twice the distance I had traversed from my car.
When I arrived at Newbury Comics the place was hoppin’. They had associates at the door handing out free stuff, specifically two CD samplers excited me, Zee Avi and William Fitzsimmons, two singer songwriters soon to be hitting the national stage hard. Grabbing a few things I headed to the back of the store while Daniel was setting up. Seemingly knowing the store manager, brandishing only a Martin acoustic, he signaled his readiness and began a soft number. I was impressed with the depth of lyrics and poetic allusions, backed with tender vocals and very quick chord changes. Next he played the only tune I recognized from my research, “Baby Slow Down.” A tender third person narrative of a runaway girl, full with fantastic pick strumming the entire song. Pick strumming may, or may not be a real musical term, it wasn’t flat picking, and it wasn’t straight strumming like his first song, either way it filled the the song with folky tones, following the fluctuations in his voice perfectly. As he finished the song, and thanked his grandfather for attending, I became aware I was probably the only person who had gone to Newbury Comics for his performance other than his family. While not their prime objective, it was apparent the other shoppers liked what they heard and started making their way to the back of the store to catch a glimpse. As the crowd began to gather he followed with an intimate song about the time end a relationship, not really wanting it so, but realizing its for the best:
The whole set was filled with a superb acoustic folk feel, fronted with well written, pertinent songs, and steadfast emotional vocals. After the set I had a chance to chat with Daniel, he graciously thanked me for coming out to see him and we chatted a bit about the local scene. Unbeknown to me, the first and third Wednesday of every month Tazza Caffe hosts “Writers on the Round” featuring local songwriters. This certainly excites me, until I came across the Motif Music Poll, I was unaware of any singer songwriters in the area, now I have even more acts to see. I’m down! Wait a minute, doesn’t Tazza serve coffee and beer? Double down!