The first Danielson album in five years, The Best Of Gloucester County, comes out February 22nd and features cameos from Sufjan Stevens, Jens Lenkman and Phawker alum Patrick Berkery on drums and percussion.
RICK MOODY: Danielson has, during the five years, let go (reluctantly, perhaps) of some family collaborators—namely his brothers Andrew and David, the percussionists, and childhood friends Chris and Ted, on keys and bass/guitar respectively. While sisters Megan and Rachel and Daniel’s wife Elin, the essential chorus for many a Danielson Famile song, still appear, the bulk of Best of Gloucester County revolves around a completely new “team,” as Smith has put it himself (Patrick Berkery– drums, percussion; Evan Mazunik– piano, organ; Joshua Stamper– bass; Sufjan Stevens– banjo, vocal; Andrew Wilson– electric guitar), most of them local players from the Gloucester County, NJ, area where Smith lives and works and has his studio.
That means that Best of Gloucester County is not, despite the title, a retrospective “Best of” album (that would be Trying Hartz, the last Danielson-related release), but rather a statement of intention. Danielson is now a locally-owned and locally-ambitious entity, and, in this case, a locally-released (Gloucester County) album, since this is the first Danielson release on Daniel Smith’s own Sounds Familyre label. Seizing the means of production! With the result that here is a genuine attempt to dazzle! The tracks are thoroughly arranged (with bass player Joshua Stamper creating some great horn charts), and the rhythm section (which, in the past, was charming and lovely) sounds more like a rock and roll rhythm section than ever before, and the addition of an electric guitar player throughout means that the interplay between guitars, and the relationship between guitar and keys and glockenspiel, is quite a bit more dramatic, more cinematic. MORE
MP3: “Grow Up”