It really is quite hard to believe that ‘What’s Here What’s Gone’ sees the emergence of Luke Daniels the singer-songwriter. Daniels has, for two decades, been an in demand folk multi-instrumentalist. His work, primarily on the Melodeon, has graced releases by Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and on the scores to the recent ‘Hobbit’ films from composer Howard Shore. He is currently dividing his time between solo shows and as a member of the Cara Dillon band.
Quite evidently a labour of love, Luke Daniels has stated that he has been writing songs for five or six years in the lead up to this release. The album features production by Daniels and Paul Savage who made his name in Scottish act The Delgados, before stepping up to the production desk for Mogwai and Deacon Blue. The sound of the album is warm, lush and very intricately constructed with the sound of each instrument and vocal delivered with great care and precision. This care even reaches the overall package of the album, a hardback book design with lyrics included, very refreshing in these days of downloads and music streaming. This is very much an album that you’d be inclined to sit down with the physical release and enjoy the overall experience.
‘What’s Here What’s Gone’ would be classified as a folk album but the envelope is pushed with blues, jazz and gospel influences. Highlights include ‘What She Means’ which is quite beautiful with a gorgeous harmony vocal courtesy of Madeleine Pritchard. The vocals are very important throughout the album as Pritchard and Chris Judge add gentle colour or full on gospel soul flourishes when required. ‘A River Runs’ is a gentle country stomp with upfront steel and more superb harmonies. ‘How Will I Know’ seems slight but builds nicely with the addition of strings opening the song out and inviting you in while the dark rhythmic foreboding of ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ works well with the opening “I’m Not Afraid” litany very effective in setting the tone.
The album closes with ‘Healing Stream’ which is an adaptation of a song from the Salvation Army songbook, complete with a classical vocal quartet, which emphasises the spirituality evident on the album. Daniels has stated that he believes in the human spirit and the importance of how we react and interact with others. Something that I’m sure we can all agree with.
Selected tour dates are below for full details: