Daniel Jay Paul – The Songwriter’s Songwriter
Daniel Jay Paul is, in many ways, the very archetype of the singer-songwriter. He is talented, of course, but his music is also marked by the single-mindedness and mysteriousness of the greats.
His fourth studio album – ‘Clean Getaway’ – is typical of the man. Yet, simultaneously, it is also a lasting testament to the point at which we find this uniquely gifted writer, singer and musician. As with the classic lyricists of the past, Paul’s songs are as gut-wrenchingly personal as they come. ‘Clean Getaway’ is the portrait of a man who has gone to the crossroads of his life and come away with a new perspective. Sounding at times like Bruce Springsteen or Mark Knoplfer, and other times like Kris Kristofferson or Neil Young, Paul’s sound still manages to stay very much his own throughout this tour de force of an album.
The lyrics – by turns mournful, uplifting, hopeful and whimsical – are always intelligent and constantly surprising. It is no surprise that Paul spent several years away from music to write a novel for it is the voice of a novelist, or more accurately a poet, that comes through loud and clear on every song on this record. It is also no surprise that the album comes out of a time after the breakdown of a marriage, a re-examination of a life, and a decision to quit the open road to devote his time to writing and recording. It is reflective on both the past and the future. It is both heart-achingly personal and familiar and universal at the same time.
Songs like the title track, ‘Clean Getaway’, look at the pain of separation. Yet ‘Leap of Faith’ and ‘This Time’ are full of hope for the future. Yet these are only a few of the gems on this remarkable album. There is the elegiac ‘King Without a Castle’, the wistful ‘Remembrance Road’ and the almost joyous rock n’roll of ‘Leaving You Tomorrow’.
‘Clean Getaway’ is an album that requires repeat listening. It is an album that will be cherished by anyone who loves original song writing and great American music.