Album Review- Matt Daniel’s “All I’ll Ever Need”
You better get to making some room in your playlist for this summer because Matt Daniel is about to be begging to get on it. What’s all that hair metal doing on there anyway? You on some sort of nostalgia kick? 86 all of that stuff and get something with some twang and soul in the mix. That’s what Matt Daniel is serving up here, and he might have two first names, but you won’t be forgetting either of them anytime soon.
Originally from Seymour, Texas, which is out in the country a bit west from Fort Worth, Matt Daniel was raised up strictly on Gospel music. He was exposed to country greats such as Alan Jackson and Randy Travis early on, but only through their Gospel works. When he got out on his own though, it was a healthy dose of secular stuff from the old greats like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Matt also too a liking to those Texas songwriters like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and fell head first into the music of the Turnpike Troubadours.
You hear all of these influences blended into the eight songs of his debut album All I’ll Ever Need. It was released back in February, but it’s just now drifting on to the radar of yours truly. With songs this good, it was bound to break through to a bigger audience at some point. It’s not uncommon to hear a great voice in country, or to hear quality songs from up-and-comers, or to hear great picking on a well-produced record. What’s rare is to get them all synced up at the same time. All I’ll Ever Need accomplishes this.
Matt Daniel immediately appeals to your country bone with a great country voice. And like the Turnpike Troubadours, it’s a traditional country sound with fiddle and steel, but with just a dash of rock and roll energy and swagger to give it a bit more immediacy and infectiousness.
The sound is what draws you in, but it’s the songs that you stick around for. At some point Matt Daniel headed out to Nashville, and luckily fell in with the right crowd, namely some of the songwriters that hung around the weekly event called The Revival at the Tin Roof on Tuesdays. Instead of releasing songs half baked, Daniel took the conventional country approach and co-wrote with guys like Nate Fredrick, Matt McKinney, and Revival mainstay Rob Snyder to really refine his stuff.
Once he had an albums worth of songs though, Matt Daniel headed back to Texas, and recorded them at the ol’ KSIJ studio in Gladewater, Texas where Johnny Cash and Elvis once recorded to give everything that authentic flavor. Produced by Chad Mauldin, this is a classic country record, but one with slightly elevated songwriting, but not so elevated to alienate the classic country crowd like some “Americana” does, if that makes sense. It’s substantive, but accessible.
The swaying “Weatherman” is a killer heartbreak song about falling into becoming a fair weather lover. “Homeless in Heaven” is another killer, well-written track, taking a unique perspective on an otherwise favorite and common subject matter for songwriters. “Better Place” co-written with Rob Snyder also stands out.
At their best, Matt Daniel’s songs have great movement, and great composition that is sometimes absent in otherwise quality traditional country songs. A good ear is brought to everything here, even if a particular song may not appeal to you personally. It’s fair to characterize a few of the songs as weaker as some of the others, while eight songs may feel a little lean for some. But that’s only because the great stuff gets you thirsty for more.
Some great country songwriters try to fake it as country singers, including some who’ve gotten pretty far. But when you have a great singer that can also write songs, this is what results in great country music like you get on All I’ll Ever Need.
1 3/4 Guns Up (8.2/10)
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June 13, 2022 @ 9:27 am
Reminds me of why I fell in love with this music in the first place!
(Still) The Ghost Of OlaR
June 13, 2022 @ 10:52 am
(So far) my overall AOTY 2022…with “Homeless In Heaven” knocking it out of the park.
(Aussie AOTY is the new Lyn Bowtell album – Wiser)
June 13, 2022 @ 12:52 pm
Just gave it a listen and it was excellent! Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to listen to all this great new music coming out ….but that’s a good problem!!
June 13, 2022 @ 1:29 pm
Finally! You reviewed this. Matt will blow up now! This is a great record. I love it!
June 13, 2022 @ 2:08 pm
Just gave it a listen while out on the bike trail and loved it!! The rotation is getting crowded Trig but I’ll squeeze this in for sure. At a very time efficient 27 minutes I have no problem with that. Starting to really love the shorter albums………cough cough……Zach can be the exception I suppose.
June 14, 2022 @ 2:24 am
I stumbled across this album when it first came out and it has been steady in my rotation ever since. Great review. Hopefully he finds a solid fanbase.
June 14, 2022 @ 6:33 am
Picked this up a month or two ago. Solid Country/Texas Country album, though a little light with only 8 songs. Overall I have enjoyed it. Thanks
June 16, 2022 @ 6:34 am
Great album and everything with Nate Fredrick on is a yes for me.
Dry Fish Man
June 27, 2022 @ 11:50 am
This is a great review of a really great album. My only complaint is that I wish he had more songs. Looking forward to hearing more of Matt’s music.
June 27, 2022 @ 2:37 pm
Damn, I love this. Just listened to his “Cabin Sessions (Acoustic)” album too. Equally good. Man, it makes me a little depressed how basically anonymous a guy like this is, in the larger country music world. He’s got no coverage anywhere, as far as I can tell, besides SCM. Glad I found this here. This might be my favorite new country release this year so far.
August 3, 2022 @ 3:01 pm
I only like old country for the most part, and it’s not my favorite genre, but I have to say; this guy is good. I might even listen to his album!
September 21, 2022 @ 7:00 pm
The more I listen to this album the more I like it and the more I think it might have to be in the running for album of the year. Really good stuff from 1-8 which reminds me of CWG’s album of the year from 2021