"These Houses" Review by Valère Sampermans - ROOTSTIME.BE - Belgium
“In the songs on his latest album ‘These Houses’, American folk singer and songwriter C. Daniel Boling reflects on nostalgic themes from his childhood. He also honours his heroes, ranging from war veterans to his musical inspirations like folk stars Leadbelly, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. These naked, pure and honest stories are the strongest elements on his newest record, next to the accompanying acoustic music.”
Valère Sampermans - ROOTSTIME.BE - Belgium (Nov 1, 2016)
Mescalina Magazine--Review by Corrado Ori Tanzi
C. Daniel Boling--SLEEPING DOGS
The dogs of C. Daniel Boling don’t belong to the same family as Tom Waits’ dogs tramping in the rain. They go to bed. But their dreams are not golden ones. They get lost in the darkness which still surprises them, twisting their stomachs and pounding in their brains. Bad beast, memory, it won’t let sleep return even for the brief curve of a night.
Daniel is from New Mexico. From the land of Breaking Bad he’s given light to an album with lyrics and sounds so essential they combine mind and heart as pure chemistry. Acoustic guitar, harmonica, mandolin, cello, tuba, a pinch of dobro and some delicate percussion. And then his voice. Calm and steady like the perfect storyteller, in the footsteps of Eric Andersen’s Violets of Dreams and Jackson Browne.
Vagabond is in Boling’s blood. A child in Okinawa with his soldier dad – then a Bukowskian series of jobs such as a park ranger and investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and then at the relatively young age of 50 … a traveling folk singer (if Seasick Steve began at 70 ...). Now he releases his fifth title, Sleeping Dogs, produced by Jono Manson (do you remember Barnetti Bros Band?), who occasionally lends his voice on the album as well. With this record we hold a treasure in our hands – the most sincerely enjoyable music today’s Americana well can deliver. A 13-song personal investigation where the tale touches moments of family life, individual cracks from the collection of years the author has in his pockets, reflections on the seasons that always deliver us a new morning from which it’s possible to start again.
Among the songs there’s no hit single – Boling has preferred to frame the songs just like they were each part of a unique verbal tale, respecting the high mood that the first song (Moderation) succeeds in creating so well. Do you have in mind when a grandpa says to his grandchildren on the porch, "Listen to me now, I will tell you this story"? The children are captivated from the first second. Well, this happens with Sleeping Dogs – the folk and the blues offer a wholesome, steady gust of wind that goes along with this man with the beard, whose gaze and voice persuade us we do not need to go on strengthening the little bunker we’ve spent our whole life building around us against all humanity.
Corrado Ori Tanzi
July 16, 2014
Mescalina magazine - Italy
Il Popolo del Blues Magazine--Review by Giulia Nuti
SLEEPING DOGS--C. Daniel Boling
Produced by Jono Manson, a musician and producer in Santa Fe, New Mexico with whom Italy has a long and established relationship, Sleeping Dogs is the sixth album of American singer-songwriter C. Daniel Boling.
With a life lived in places around the world ranging from Texas to Japan, and a concert career begun at age 50, Boling gives you an album in which acoustic atmospheres dominate.
The real protagonists of this work are the songs, and they are enriched by sparse arrangements with just a few instruments with measured touches that are never invasive. The album owes something to blues, to folk, and to the school of the great songwriters and the American tradition.
Boling loves telling stories, many of which draw on personal matters: the story of how a marriage can maintain his poetry over the years (As Young as Your Kiss ), the relationship with their children (Never Speak to Me Again), love in its various nuances, the passage of time.
The CD opens beautifully with the song Moderation, in which Manson (as on several other tracks) is also involved as a musician, where Boling tells us that moderation is not his forte. Among the most interesting and original features of this work is the song Hooked, in which Boling sings and plays banjitar (a hybrid of banjo and guitar), accompanied only by bass tuba played by Freebo (who has worked with Bonnie Raitt).
This record is a gentle journey into the more intimate side of American singer-songwriters.
April 17, 2014
Il Popolo del Blues magazine - Italy
Maverick Magazine--Review by Arthur Wood
Songs about life and the way it should be cherished and lived
New Mexico based songwriter C. Daniel Boling’s latest musical offering is the 14-song SLEEPING DOGS. The sessions mainly took place at Kitchen Sink Studio in Chupadero, New Mexico and were recorded, mixed and produced by Jono Manson. The vocal contributions from Andi & Ren Renfree and Bill Ward - aka Two Bit Palomino - were recorded at the latter’s Song Dog Studio in Houston, while Robert Tepper captured Freebo’s tuba at Addison Sound in Los Angeles. Injecting an international down-under "avour" John Egenes’ mandolin, dobro and Weissenborn guitar were self-recorded in a Port Chalmers studio (a suburb of Dunedin) on the south island of New Zealand. Back on home ground, Daniel (acoustic guitar, banjitar, vocals) was aided on acoustic guitar, dobro, cello, upright bass, harmonica, percussion and support vocal by a coterie of local pickers and singers. The cautionary opener Moderation focuses upon indulging to excess, be it food, spirit, social interaction or some other human addiction. In the closing verse Dan warns ‘I’m bound to break if I ever bend cause, Moderation is not my friend.’ Unraveled and Never Speaks To Me Again reflect upon family values and boundaries. The love themed As Young As Your Kiss reflects upon the passage of many decades, while the later Nobody’s Business - Bill Ward contributes piano - recalls a distant time of ‘outrage and shame’ when ‘a white girl would take, A Negro’s man’s name.’ Akin to a recurring bad dream, the title song lyric reflects upon ‘Moments of the past that won’t stay gone. Positivity concerning the human condition permeates the lines of Doesn’t Get Better Than This, while Hooked is a cunning tale dedicated to the disciplined art of angling for catfish. Dark Secrets explores the way personal revelations can often colour the future of a relationship. ‘A holy squirrel,’ ‘sacred cow,’ ‘pantheistic pangolin’ and ‘old agnostic troubadour’ feature in the lyrically sly Pontifcating Paradox, while Someday explores a world where celebrity and greed are worshipped, when we should be celebrating ‘humanity’s diversity.’ The penultimate It’s His Voice She Hears portrays a woman new to, and unfamiliar with, the world of widowhood. SLEEPING DOGS closes with Summer Sweetcorn a seasonal ode to all those jobs we earnestly plan to do but never accomplish. Arthur Wood
Le Cri du Coyote (France) – review by Sam Pierre
SLEEPING DOGS – C. Daniel Boling – Berkalin Records
Among the artists published by the label Berkalin Records, there are a few names who command respect : Brian Kalinec the founder, but also Bob Cheevers, Jeff Talmadge, Matt Harlan and Tim Henderson. In this list (not exhaustive) we must now add the name of C. Daniel Boling, a songwriter based in Albuquerque, New Mexico who, after years in the National Parks and as a criminal investigator, began to tour as singer at the age of 50.
Sleeping Dogs is his sixth album and reveals, to those who do not yet know his music, lyrics and melody full of finesse, a sensitive singer and a talented guitarist. He also plays the Banjitar on “Moderation”, the opening track in which he states that the moderation is not his friend. Thirteen tracks comprise the album which offers a beautiful array of portraits of various characters (including Daniel himself) and reflections on topics as diverse as religion, love, fishing, equality, and just how life happens. The instrumental accompaniment is always light, one or two acoustic guitars, sometimes cello, mandolin or dobro (and even two dobros on “Doesn’t Get Better Than This”).
Guest vocalists include Larkin Gayl, producer Jono Manson and 2 - Bit Palomino at full strength (Andi & Ren Renfree and Bill Ward). Their voices are also accompanied by the cello of Deborah Barbe. Daniel takes his leave with Summer Sweetcorn, full of nostalgic beauty that evokes the seasons but also the speed with which life ultimately passes. A good reason to replay “Moderation” ... without moderation!
Real Roots Café--Review by Fred Schmale
In the long line of storytellers, we present to you C. Daniel Boling of the great city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The man has a life of work (law enforcement … with a gun!) and travel behind him as he decides to throw himself into music full-time in his fifties. So far this has resulted in six CDs, the latest of which recently appeared on the highly regarded Berkalin label.
Daniel has a pleasant tenor voice and writes beautiful songs. He sings and plays the guitar and banjitar - a hybrid of banjo and guitar - accompanied on bass, percussion, dobro, cello, mandolin, harmonica, piano, tuba and second guitar (only one song has percussion, even light percussion).
These are thirteen gems by Daniel -- songs about people, including himself, with a philosophical tint. Think of a subtle intermixture of Steve Goodman, John Prine and Tom Paxton. In 'Someday' Boling provides a social element declaration: "Someday, someday, we will, we will understand. When we give as much respect to teachers as to movie stars, when we spend as much on homeless shelters as on prison bars, when we see our fellow man in need and give him some of ours”. In 'As Young as Your Kiss' he looks back at his (love) life: "Where did the years go so quickly, my love, how did we get to be gray. Decades go by in the blink of an eye, it still feels like yesterday the first time I heard you say love me forever and hold me right now." Simple, but effective.
I think this CD is a gift. Boling is not a novice after all, but maintains himself effortlessly among the large contingent of subtle, good singer- songwriters. Just a very nice CD!
Real Roots Café
OBLADOO (Sweden)--Review by Per Wiker
It took a long time before Daniel Boling came to devote himself fully to music, for example, he did his first tour after he turned 50. At an age when others might be looking to put down their dreams of playing and touring, Boling to the contrary began to make things happen. There are some advantages to this approach which help to make his sixth album /Sleeping Dogs/ so good. He has a whole lifetime to tell you about. For example: he has experience from lifelong friendship put to the test; his cheeky child he nevertheless loves above all else; he has a wife; he has been part of the public debate. He has so much more to reference than a party-happy 25-year-old has.
On " Unraveled ", he talks to his mother about how it was for the family without her when she disappeared. Very strong. On "As Young as Your Kiss" he turns to his wife as they have throughout the years: "Love me forever and hold me right now / Gather our memories like this / I know we'll never be old anyhow / Anytime we reminisce / I'll be as young as your kiss." The title track is about all those things you dwell on and ponder, even though it doesn’t help anything and you know it doesn’t; small injustices and things one would have said or done differently: "I've been saving up things to blame myself about / Late at night they clamor in my mind." "Never Speak to Me Again" is sung to the son he has just quarreled with - leading to a fine meditation on life and unconditional love. The recognition factor is high. "Hooked " is disguised as a fish story that is probably really about love, and "It's His Voice She Hears " is a very touching song of a woman losing her husband after fifty years and all that entails. Perhaps the best moment is the angry "Dark Secrets " - a song that speaks to those people who open up too much to their friends, with the only goal being to numb their own shame and guilt.
As I have said, the lyrics are very strong and musically I think a little of Steve Goodman in the fine guitar playing and that Boling has an equally gentle, kind and beautiful voice. Boling gives hope. It is never too late to become a singer / songwriter -- or to discover new ones.
Swedish Web Magazine – OBLADOO