New Release: The Low Level Hum by Jonny Daly
Atlanta guitarist, producer, and songwriter Jonny Daly has done his fair share of session work. But on his first solo album The Low Level Hum, Daly has written a collection of compelling tunes and sought out some of the finest vocalists and musicians around to fill the gaps here and there. From his Bandcamp page, Daly writes of the album, “The Low Level Hum is the line between the head and the heart: it is the bottom line where emotions and actions begin; the stillpoint. This album stems from my personal experience this past year.”
It is indeed a rare occurrence when artists share their motivation for every song on an album. Fans are fortunate, in this case, as Daly lays out the catalyst for each song on Hum:
In this record, I address addiction, “The Lie,” resentment, “Heartless Place,” receiving tragic news from home, “March-Two-Nine,” a parent slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease, “Requiem,” the act of suicide, “Song For Ryan” and the “Rage” and “Sorrow” one experiences when your life is upended and you are processing what seems impossible to understand. Finally, a brief respite and escape from reality in “Peaceful Dream” and the simplicity of that place where one always felt safe in, “Home.”
The title track kicks off the set with song cowriter and vocalist Trappers Cabin, who shared the same duties on “The Lie,” a song with a nod to addiction and a dash of Radiohead. Stacey Cargal handles vocals on “March Two Nine,” a haunting track underscoring Daly’s adept skill at songwriting and arranging. Listen again to Cargal as he performs spoken word on the Alzheimer’s-inspired beauty “Requiem.” In it, Cargal says, “How long have you been here? / Who are you? / Do I know you?” Questions many of us have heard from loved ones, past and present.
The trifecta of “Rage,” “Sorrow,” and “Song for Ryan” all focus on suicide, with vocals respectively by Chandler McGee, Miles Landrum, and Halley O’Malley in poignant spoken word. These songs morph from anger to heartbreak. McGee can also be heard on the spoken word track “Heartless Place,” in which an excerpt of “The Cross” by D.H. Lawrence is read: “…we are mostly unexplored hinterland and our consciousness is a spot of light in a great but living darkness.” Again, this theme will hit close to home for many. On a lighter note, check out Daly, O’Malley, and Lee Kennedy (playing bass on a couple tracks here) in their band ambulette‘s excellent debut album from last year, Too Bad About All Your Problems. Review: ambulette is here to triage your little emergencies.
“Peaceful Dream” and “Home” exist to calm the urgency and anxiety of the world’s recent problems. The latter, sung by Kevin Jackson, is a brief beauty wrapping up Hum with relief. As you listen, remember you are never alone. No one is. If you or someone you know are experiencing depression or having suicidal ideations, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For those battling depression and/or addiction, visit The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Throughout this emotional album, Daly displays a knack for complex and sophisticated guitar chops which ultimately create a conceptual framework tying the whole thing together. And lucky for us, Low Level Hum just may be the salve needed as we resurrect ourselves from the year of Covid. Listen and purchase the album on Daly’s Bandcamp page and hope to see him live very soon!
Categories: New Music