Daniel McDonagh is a singer-songwriter & artist from the Garden of England
Each visit to Daniel McDonagh’s folk output bears fruit, so it comes as no surprise to find out he is based in Kent, otherwise known as the Garden of England. Understandably then, his music is informed by the dramatic views outside his window and you'll harvest a basket of acousticism, near mysticism and the general positivity from a bard who employs a more natural way of doing things. His music never feels forced, in fact it gushes graciously as if partaking in easy conversation. There is also a spirituality that comes with having that connection with the environment all around and the belief in the existence of something up on high too. Listeners get that feeling of being moved while sitting completely still, a sway expressed through a myriad of themes like cathedral bells, vixens, the changing seasons, restlessness and all threaded through the eye of keen melancholy.
McDonagh’s debut EP ‘Toward Winter’ arrived in the summer of 2020 and included four tracks of cultured harmony. Things may have been taken slowly but the warm rewards in the tempered progression was clear. Assembled with the utmost of care this collection offered company for those times when the humans let you down. Take the Ian Brown like ‘Restless’ for example, which pours you a drink before laying on the loquacious schmooze. And that is really what you get with Daniel McDonagh, folk with a depth that James Yorkston has become synonymous with - all done with the minimal of noise and a swell of melody to brighten up those long northern European winter nights.
His debut album, ‘At Dusk My Heart’, is out later in 2022 but its direction has already been flagged by first single ‘Country Turning’. And it evokes something in the listener that goes well beyond superficial pleasure, all down to this bard’s understanding that music as an art form needs to have depth. Fans of Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle and his penchant for turning forlorn melodies into something rather hymnal will rightly be swooning. It turns out that ‘Country Turning’ is the gateway to a fireside collection of wispy delights on ‘At Dusk My Heart’. There are also echoes of the classic ambient structures of Talk Talk from their seminal ‘Spirit of Eden’ LP but also a loving adherence to classic folk templates. McDonagh’s songs are not always as they seem, never to be underestimated because just when you think you can predict their path another fresh seam of melody fills your psyche with fresh hope. This is music to savour, love and most importantly to be loved by.