We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Standout Track: No. 1, “When You’re Gone,” an alt-country tune that opens with a spume of guitar feedback before finding an energetic, more homespun groove. Accompanied by busy banjo pickin’, singer-guitarist Todd Daniel, 29, gives advice to a woman who’s heading to the big city: “Leave from this town/Leave from this place/Wipe away where you’re from/Send no regards/Make no amends/Awaken the sleeping drums.”
Musical Motivation: “I think of it as if the girl in ‘Born to Run,’ had taken off without the guy,” says Daniel, a Springsteen fan and New Jersey native. “They were going to run away together, and it didn’t happen that way.” Daniel, who now lives in Springfield, sings in the voice of the left-behind guy, but “When You’re Gone” isn’t a mournful song; Daniel’s protagonist thinks his love will return someday. “He’s got hope—that is a main theme in a lot of my work,” Daniel says.
Squeal of Fortune: “When You’re Gone” started as an acoustic-guitar song with a banjo break. But drummer John Cunningham, 39, decided to ratchet up the track’s tempo by adding a freight-train beat, a strategy that might be familiar to longtime alt-country fans. “We are big fans of the Old 97’s, my drummer especially, and he had a big influence on where that song was headed,” says Daniel. Thus inspired, he switched to electric guitar and decided to kick things off with a feedback screech. “I wanted to get that electric sound coming through, and, right off the bat, let you know it’s not going to be your traditional country album,” he says.
The Walkaways play Friday, Nov. 7, at the Evening Star Café.