Kyle Daniel: ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins!’

We had the chance to sit down with Kentucky’s own Kyle Daniel to talk about his European tour (including The Long Road Festival), and his music, past and future!

How was the European tour?

Oh man, I’m still on an absolute high from that thing. It was incredible. This time felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was very nice!

The cool thing about this run was all of the different places that we played. We played on a boat, we played the blues garage which felt like we were in Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Tennessee or something. I love playing clubs, I’ve played clubs my whole life, and a couple of venues in Germany were like that. And then obviously The Long Road Festival (review here) was super cool as well!

What’s the scene like in Europe compared to over there?

I think there’s a different appreciation for music all together. It feels a little hungrier I guess. Maybe it’s the fact that they don’t get to see a bunch of American artists so part of the hunger comes from that. But man, some of the best fans that anybody could as for, definitely. The support from socials to merchandise to streaming songs, the crowd over there is a different beast, for sure.

Your local scene looks to be having a bit of a resurgence too, right? Any other artists you want to shout out?

Yeah! I mean there’s so many that it’s really tough to kinda single anybody out. There’s a lot of groups in and around Kentucky that are making a splash right now. I think it’s really cool. For the longest time I think Kentucky Tennessee people think like ‘do your cousins wear shoes?’ and stuff like that. For the longest time there was a weird stigma about being from Kentucky. I think guys like Tyler Childers and Sturgil Simpson and Chris Stapleton obviously blew the doors wide open for it to be cool to be from Kentucky again. I’m just glad to see some buddies overseas, I got to see Everette while over there and it’s like man, we played in a bar that holds 350 people for years and years called Tidballs in my hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Super proud of them!

How would you describe your sound? What inspirations do you draw from?

I would categorise it as southern rock personally, as that’s what I grew up on. I love The Almond Brothers, Greg Almond is my hero. And obviously the duel guitar leads, that leant itself to [Lynyrd] Skynyrd and Thin Lizzy and The Band, that classic sound that was this Southern thing. Even though The Band weren’t from the south they definitely sounded like a southern band.

I think that was what really initially for me that set the hook. My dad was a big Almond Brothers and Skynyrd fan and Marshal Tucker and Charlie Daniels so you put all that stuff together… I specifically remember I think that all leant itself to my own personal taste when I remember my dad saying ‘Son, this is real music’ and put on The Almond Brothers band. ‘Statesboro Blues’, they counted it off and I will never forget what it sounded like when that slide guitar came in. I was like ‘what is that?’ and my dad was like ‘son, that’s slide guitar, you need to learn how to play that!’.

So that was it. I went from some teenage punk kid that loved what was popular. Ironically early on Green Day was one of my favourite bands. I had a different eclectic taste, I loved a lot of hip-hop and rap. I grew up in the 90s so a lot of that R&B, soul stuff kinda peppered in with the alt rock stuff so it was kind of a jolt to say the least when that kind of stuff was introduced. I was listening to something completely different at the time. It definitely spun me in the right direction!

You put out the Following the Rain EP a couple of months ago. Did you want to talk about it? It seems like quite the journey!

Yeah man. I think this entire record, which will be ‘Kentucky Gold’, is quite the journey. I started writing this probably a year before Covid started and it’s still not out. There’s many reasons for that. The record itself, the songs are very close to me. I think this record as a whole gives a 30,000ft view of who Kyle Daniel is as a writer, as an artist, as a human being. A lot of them are very emotional songs.

I wrote a song for my wife on the record which I had never done before. I wrote a song that touches on dealing with depression and the things that I’d kinda gone through in that time. We did cut the record in the midst of Covid so that was in 2020 I believe. They’re very close to me, they’re very personable. I wrote a song about my old man on the record. I wrote about the state of the Union in some of the stuff. Not politically charged one way or the other, just a hey, this is where we’re at. A sign of the times sort of song. Ironically it still rings true to this day.

I think I tried to give as broad of a perspective of the way that I think, the way that I can feel at times and who I really am. That way people that don’t know who I am maybe get a little better understanding of that.

I can’t imagine you can give much about the dates of the album but is looking like this year?

No, I think it’s probably going to be a next year thing. I waited on it because I couldn’t tour in the midst of Covid so I tried to do what I could to keep the fire burning on socials and just being selective. I felt like what I have in this record is special and I didn’t want to rush it out just to rush it out. I probably could have done that but I’ve spent a small fortune as an unsigned artist on this record so I felt like as a businessman I had to make sound decisions on when and how I release the record.

You know, some things work, some things don’t. I feel like I’m in a really good position at this point and I think it’ll definitely coming out next year. And I think the patience I’ve had will lead to the record being hopefully more successful.

The unsigned artist thing is really taking of recently, it’s easier than ever to get heard.

Yeah it is. For me I know that can be good and bad. Part of the frustration sometimes is not being able to cast a wider net. But you can sit here in your home studio and record a record and put it up on Tunecore just like that. I think it has its pros and its cons. You have the freedom and the creativity to do what you’d like but you can hit a ceiling real fast.

Have you got any advice you could give to an artist just starting out?

Stay after it. I think that’s the number one name of the game here in Nashville and I think maybe anything in life. My old man used to always tell me ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins’. That’s a very true statement, I think that only the strong survive. It’s a dog eat dog world. There are 2500 artists in Nashville right now at my level doing what I’m doing. They’d cut my throat to get in front of me any day of the week. I’m not saying that maliciously, but everybody’s serious about what they do. I think if you don’t have an undying hunger for music you should probably try to find something different. It’s a gruelling, long road that artists take.

I’ve been here for 13 years and watched them blow up like a firework but then do just that and be done. Then I’ve also seen people who’ve taken a bit more of the long road approach. Put the time in, played their dues, played the small dirty venues for $25 and they have continued to write, record, tour, just continue to push the ball down the court. Sooner or later that gets recognised.

And there we have it! As always keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here.