Troubador is a terminology almost forgotten to time. Sure it applies to a lot of Indie-Folk and Alternative artists. There are some really great storytellers across different genres in music history: Johnny Cash,Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Eddie Vedder, Loudon Wainwright III, Jaye Jale, Emma Ruth Rundle, The White Buffalo, Marissa Nadler, Chris Smither, Wovenhand, and even the lighter side of artists like Xasthur and Panopticon. Why not mash-up soulful Blues and Country like Hank III, but also Torch Song Art-Punk like Amanda Palmer? It can be done if you have the talent and the ability to convey realness. Fake anything won’t work for this style at all. Amigo The Devil a.ka. Danny Kiranos deals in these realities that point the mirror at the less flattering and absurd moments in life, including at himself. His new album, the Ross Robinson (Korn, Sepultura) produced Every Thing Is Fine (Regime Music Group) conveys this in spades.
Bringing a crazy mash of Dark-Folk, blues, Bluegrass, Outlaw Country, campy and torch songs Danny drips these styles down through a centrifuge with a moonshine back-of-the-throat-burn finish. Clever fans will listen intently to his poetic words, wry non-sequiturs, and raunchy gallows humor. These songs are infectious, fun and will inspire twisted sing-a-longs live. A real artist like Danny does so with panache, rarely telegraphs a line, and often surprises with his wordplay. At heart he is a storyteller, desperately trying to get you to understand his bent worldview.
With mostly sparse instrumentation, occasionally complemented by a fuller sound of lap steel, slide guitar, light synths, violins, percussion, washboards, some musiq- concrete effects,and drums by Brad Wilk (Prophets of Rage, Rage Against The Machine), the tracks for the most part are short and to the point. Each sets a scene, exposits a little bit, and rides off into the sunset. The more traditional tracks of just guitar and voice are haunting and intentionally bare as to highlight the singer. The fuller songs don’t make the extra sounds over-bearing, just a different flavor to give the album some variety.
From the opening of ‘Cocaine And Able’ to the finals notes dissipating from ‘Stronger Than Dead’, Danny’s voice splays his heart open, gushing emotions out in every line. Tracks like ‘If I’m Crazy’ ‘Your Perfect Too’, ‘Hell And You’, the hilarious ‘I Hope Your Husband Dies’, ‘Hungover In Jonestown’, and ‘Release’ will dig deep into your flesh. ‘Everyone Get’s Left Behind’ is the most revved up the album gets to in feeling like a full band. ‘Edmund Temper’ has to be the best song title in 2018, and also a super creepy reference to serial killer Edmund Kemper. It also has Danny’s most beautiful vocal, evoking Roy Orbison, George Jones, or even Chris Isaak. It’s that good folks.
Frankly, listening to this album on repeat is making me want to reach for a Lemmy or ten, and cry into my pillow about all my regrets, my misspent youth, all while I rethink my life so far. Good job Amigo the Devil!