C. Daniel Boling - These Houses
Boling once earned a living as a forester in the Mesa Verde National Park. Later he worked as an investigator for the US Bureau of Land Management. He lived for a time in Japan. On his fiftieth birthday he started touring.
“These Houses”, produced by Jono Manson, is his seventh album. As a singer he fits in the series with real storytellers like Tom Paxton and Tim Henderson. The latter was a good friend of his. On the new CD Boling interprets Henderson’s songs “Buffalo Nickels” and “Miss Amelia Harris, Spinster”. The rest are new original songs of his own.
Mostly these songs are autobiographical, like the moving opener “Mama's Radio” which describes the day of his fourteenth birthday in 1963. In “Ruby Slippers” there are references to Dorothy Gale from the familiar story and film “The Wizard of Oz”. Boling subtly incorporates melodic tidbits of the classic “Over the Rainbow” at the beginning and end of the song.
“I Brought the War with Me” is one of the most impressive songs I heard this year. It deals with soldiers returning from war with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Crumble” also deals with this subject. Boling is very concerned about the fate of these veterans, for he is himself a war veteran. He donates part of the proceeds to Full Battle Rattle. This is an organization that helps veterans who suffer from this condition.
The final track “Leadbelly, Woody and Pete” is obviously about Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger – three folk singers who delivered a clear message. The songs are all quite sparingly arranged and mostly in the folk idiom. Some have country influences: Dad's Garage; Big Old Heart. The booklet is beautifully designed. “These Houses” is a beautiful album full of personal and honest songs.
[This review has been translated from Dutch. To read the original text please click the link below.]
Theo Volk - Music That Needs Attention - The Netherlands (Dec, 2016)
C. Daniel Boling - These Houses - Berkalin
This represents the seventh release in a career that has seen this American Folk artist receive widespread acclaim for his singer-songwriter talents and compared to the artists like Steve Goodman, John Prine and Tom Paxton.
Of the 13 tracks here, 3 are co-writes with Tim Henderson (Buffalo Nickels/Miss Amelia Harris/Spinster) and Andrea Renfree (Growing Old in New Mexico), and there are also 2 songs inspired by the war veterans of a New Mexico organisation who helps with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (I Brought the War With Me/Crumble).
These are well-crafted story songs and influenced by his upbringing in a traveling Air Force family, along with some years spent as a National Park Ranger, a Criminal Investigator for the US Bureau of Land Management.
The assembled musicians serve the songs with quiet restraint and colour the words with sensitive playing around the arrangements.
The title track is right out of the great American folk tradition and it is no surprise that such a varied band of musicians assemble to pay tribute to the past as well as honouring the present. Songs such as I Will Not Go Gently and Leadbelly, Woody & Pete close the project with a nod to the struggle that continues… ‘We are here to make each other strong and whole…’ A fine performer and song-writing talent.
Paul McGee - Lonesome Highway - Dublin, Ireland (Dec 28, 2016)
C. Daniel Boling
Rate 19 out of 20 points
Take note - C. Daniel Boling was born in Bremerhaven! His father was stationed there, but when Daniel was six months old he left Germany. Today he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the meantime he worked as a Park Ranger until, at the age of fifty, he decided to tour throughout the country and make music.
This musician casts a long shadow, but a positive one: he was the winner of the famous Kerrville New Folk Festival in 2014; and this is just one award in a long series begun in 2007 when he won the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriter Contest. And so we have arrived at his music - Folk! Folk in the way it was once played by musicians like Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie.
Daniel is a story-teller, and so his singing style with his friendly tenor voice is also a mixture of sung and almost spoken elements. These songs fit life as closely as a hand fits a glove, and we find autobiographical features in his lyrics. These are quite peppered with different societal-critical and self-critical and winking elements. For example, we learn something about Bessie Steen, who with her new knees at the age of 93 still drives old masters to church in her car – delicious and loving!
As is typical for folk, the arrangements are quite sparse, but this is not true of expressive power. This is inversely proportional. I was fortunate to be able to experience the music live, and I could tell what tremendous strength was in his voice and how he could formulate his messages very impressively.
“These Houses” is Daniel’s seventh album, and once again it is a very excellent one. The music radiates again this wonderful, calm sea of emotions in which one can bathe well. There are wonderful subtleties within the arrangements that make each song special and build tension. An example is the particularly moving song "I Brought the War with Me”, dealing with a theme which is unfortunately always current. Daniel’s guitar is joined by two musicians from Pakistan, Shakoor Fakir, who plays a Kamacho, a traditional string instrument, and Ali Mohammad, who plays an instrument called Changg, evidently a kind of shell also used as a trumpet in Hindu rituals. It would be interesting to record a whole album with these two musicians … perhaps in the future? After all, it is said that when the Changg is blown it announces the victory of good over evil. Yes, that would be nice – it would work.
In summary, Daniel once again presents an excellent record currently unparalleled in the great jungle of contemporary music. You'll find an excellent and watchful songwriter who knows how to tell stories, maybe even like colleagues Steve Goodman or Tom Paxton. This music comes from the heart and from deep inside, you can feel it very clearly. And when you know Daniel personally, you know that he means it honestly and that the mood of the music clearly mirrors him, and his wife Ellen. Inside the jewel case is a very warm photo of this happy couple. Thanks, Daniel, for this wonderful music and sharing a great friendship. And thanks to Ellen too – take care of your always young husband!
Incidentally, part of the proceeds of this record go to an association in Albuquerque which accepts war veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
[This review was originally printed in German -- please click the link below to go to the original text.]
Wolfgang Giese - Musik an sich - Germany (Nov 18, 2016)
Concert - STEENDAM, NETHERLANDS
April 22, 2017
Out of love for the folksingers’ profession, C. Daniel Boling travels around the world
At any time during this concert of C. Daniel Boling at Peter & Leni in Steendam it is clear that the American genuinely enjoys his performance and the interaction with the audience. This man who spent his entire life in the National Parks of America, first as a park ranger and then as a federal agent (as we know them from TV series like NCIS, but the variety that solves crimes in these federal nature areas), bought a camper after his retirement and travels around the world with his wife Ellen as a folksinger.
C. (the C stands for Charles) Daniel Boling knows what kind of footsteps he follows. His performance began with the tribute to “Leadbelly, Woody & Pete” in which he expressed his gratitude to Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, and through them to all those folksingers in the world who travel with their stories and songs, and evening-to-evening compete with all the millions that are spent on television and the internet to keep people at home.
This man, who recently competed against Megadeth bassist David Ellefson to win the public's favor in an epic battle in Jackson, Minnesota, immediately won the audience in Steendam. On the very first song of this unplugged concert the audience sang along loudly, and that was certainly not the last time. Boling is a storyteller – someone who takes you on an evening full of love, pleasure and beautiful, personal stories.
Daniel is not a man of hard political songs, but of subtle songs that are close to himself. His most political song this evening was “I Brought the War with Me” about the experience of veterans who strive to reclaim a place in the strange world that the United States has become to them after deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq – and how debris that for the ordinary American is simply waste on the side of the road is an alarm bell for them because it could easily hide a roadside bomb.
Many songs after that were close to Boling: what do you do with the stuff in your father's house when he moves in with your sister and you have to go through all the things he has collected over the course of his life … and you realize that you are actually doing the same thing, in “Dad's Garage”; about “Mama's Radio” and how the transistor radio gave a growing teenager a look at the world. And Boling finished the first set with a tribute to his late friend Tim Henderson, from whom he sang two songs, and with “Singing Your Songs”, a wonderful and dear song written in memoriam to his friend.
In the second set there were more stories. Boling knows how to accompany himself on guitar and has a nice clear voice. At every moment he draws the audience in with his songs, sing-alongs and stories. Highlights included “These Houses” about his years as park ranger at the rock homes of Indians in the Mesa Verde, the title track of his recently released and Grammy nominated album, and he sang in Dutch the Fungus number “Kaap'ren Varen”.
Millions may be spent to keep you at home, but when someone comes along with so much love to sing their songs for the audience and provides an evening full of music and fun, staying home is not an option.
Richard Wagenaar - The Next Gig (Apr 22, 2017)
CD - THESE HOUSES
A new C. Daniel Boling album is always good news. The former park ranger who became a folksinger after his retirement has a patent on beautiful songs with good narratives. Boling brings songs that are really about something. He is a storyteller in the spirit of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, whom he also honors on this album with the closing “Leadbelly, Woody & Pete”.
The album “These Houses” is a tribute in more ways. It is also a tribute to Boling's late friend Tim Henderson from whom he recorded “Buffalo Nickels” and “Miss Amelia Harris, Spinster”, and through the most impressive song from the album, “'I Brought the War with Me”, it is a tribute to veterans who have come out of the wars with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A beautiful tribute and beautifully put into words how these men, even after returning home, still face a tough battle.
Very nice are “Dad's Garage”, “These Houses” and “Singing Your Songs”. Boling is a careful and articulate singer in these beautiful folk songs. That is important because his music is about telling stories. Musically it is also good, but the focus is on the lyrics. An excellent successor to his “Sleeping Dogs” album.
To hear Boling perform live we have to wait another year. He will be expected in Europe again in 2017.
Richard Wagenaar - The Next Gig (Jun 1, 2016)
"C. Daniel Boling is what one calls a late-bloomer. He was 50 before he took his songs on the road, gathering success with that pretty soon after starting. Only two years ago he was the laureate at the renowned Kerrville New Folk Songwriters Competition. His seven albums to date are highly regarded by fans and critics alike.
With his unparalleled warm tenor voice and his instantly recognizable style of guitar playing as his most important allies, for well over 45 minutes on his latest album produced by Jono Manson, he again shows just why he's so highly regarded by all. Following in the footsteps of many great artists like Steve Goodman, James Taylor and Pete Seeger, Boling tells stories about the most diverse characters and facts, and frequently also about himself and his dearest and nearest. On this CD “These Houses” he specifically touches on stories told to him by some war veterans in two fine songs – “I Brought the War with Me” and “Crumble”. As far as we are concerned the first is brought to a unique level by meaningful lyrics like “I never faced battle completely alone, till I brought the war with me when I came back home.”
Another such exquisite beauty of a song is “Mama’s Radio” in which Daniel remembers one of his own childhood birthdays. His mother, being poor and knowing she could not give him a birthday gift, wrote him a poem which she entered into a poetry contest held by a local radio station. You've guessed it – they won the competition winning not just a nice prize but a priceless memory. A warm memory shared with us song-wise by Boling, as with many other songs on this CD. This style of storytelling reminded us a bit of the recent material by the German troubadour Reinhard Mey. Just like him, C. Daniel Boling succeeds with ease to touch his listening audience. Why? Because so much of what he tells us we recognize in ourselves."
[Reviewed January, 2017 in CTRL. ALT. COUNTRY - Belgium. Please click the link below to read the original review in Dutch.]
- CTRL. ALT. COUNTRY - Belgium (Jan, 2017)
"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