RECLUSIVE. ELUSIVE. TALENTED. HAUNTING. UNIQUE. DANIEL.
Any way you slice it, Daniel Franklin Brewer is hard to get. Good luck finding his telephone number, although it doesn’t much matter because he doesn’t pick up the telephone. He rarely returns voicemail. His public performance schedule has been dropping off like the leaves on an autumn tree. And yet, when you finally do speak with him, his voice has a quiet, graciously-still quality that sounds bemused that you are out of breath from chasing him all over the digital universe. After all, he’s been here all along, exactly where he should be.
And where’s that? Well, dominating the Atlanta-area Indie-Folk charts, for one. Besides Daniel and its ever-changing band permutations consistently hold the #1 or #2 positions on the indie charts, despite their selective performance schedule. “There
was a time, not too long ago when my band and I were gigging all over the place, as many dates as we could do, and we got burnt out,” he says. “I mean, really burnt out. So we made the decision to stop, period. It was the best thing for us.”
Since then, Daniel’s songwriting has evolved into something hauntingly purposeful yet surprisingly restrained. And his voice? This is the voice you heard singing on the day when you looked into the eyes of the beautiful stranger who you knew you’d never meet again. This is the voice you heard when you actually picked up a daisy and counted off he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not. This is the voice that’s reading your mind. Daniel sings of what’s in this very moment, sunshine and rain, poppies and trees and companionship and waving goodbye. And his own ups and downs, accolades and disappointments have all created a gentle wisdom that belies his youth. We recently caught up with Daniel for some moments of reflection:
The Velvet Note: When did the love of music start for you?
Daniel: It started when I was young. My pops was a construction worker and he would come from his manual labor job each day and sit and play the guitar. It was magical to see my dad strum a few chords and create something out of it. I would bug him every night to show me more. Eventually, I got an electric guitar and played in some embarrassing high school rock bands, but I loved it. When my grades would drop, my parents would motivate me by threatening not to let me play in my band.
What were you like back in high school?
In high school, I was extremely reclusive. I grew up in rural Georgia—first Lithia
Springs and then Cobb County. I was average and awkward and I wasn’t a good student. But sometime around my junior year, I switched schools and my band got pretty popular and I came into my own.
Are you still that awkward, shy guy now?
I don’t think I’m shy, although I am reserved and soft spoken. I guess I’m still working through some insecurities. I’m content, though. In social settings, I guess I just don’t take initiative. I like to enjoy myself, with my friends, but it doesn’t get out of hand. I’ve managed to keep my feet on the ground.
Many of the lyrics to your songs refer to love. Have you ever been in love?
(He laughs). Yes, a lot of my songs are about love. Alot of my 20’s has been marked by failures in relationships. It’s a good breeding ground for songwriting. However, I hope people who listen to my music can take away more from my songs than just relationships. Now that I’m pushing my 30’s, I feel great not having the pressure of getting married. It feels good to say that I’m single. I don’t have the desire to be famous, either. I’m enjoying my freedom, and right now, I just want to have the space to create music and have fun the resources to do it well.
Daniel’s masterful life stride doesn’t make him immune to the mishaps of everyday living, though. He will be the first to tell you that his laptops get stolen. His cars break down, often. His schedule falls behind, just like the rest of us. None of it seems to rattle him too much. I suppose it’s because he’s listening to the music of this very moment and what it has to teach him. And that’s exactly where he should be.
If you run fast, you can catch Besides Daniel at The Velvet Note this Friday, July 13th.
Showtimes are 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Tickets are $10. For reservations, call 855.5.VELVET or book online at www.thevelvetnote.com.