daniel romanoFortuitous serendipity led me to Daniel Romano this past Thursday night. As I sat in the backroom of The Cave, comfortably watching game four of the NBA Finals, my focus unknowingly drifted to the tender tunes faintly crossing the barrier from the front of the bar; cue the deep, wallowing baritone voice and I found myself staring straight in the face of the man tearing me a broken heart with his earnest confessions.

Daniel Romano is an Ontario-native singer/songwriter with the authentic archetypes of classic country music. His songs lure you in with their grit, and mesmerize you as you try to understand how this man, who has not yet reached 30, could have endured so much pain and bad luck to produce such poetic measure. You quickly gather some poor choices and booze may have been of some influence, while maintaining an empathetic heart for the man who seems drawn to the infamous adulterous woman of country music. It’s relentlessly beautiful.

Romano had the room captivated-a handful of patrons who, like myself, had originally been watching the Spurs and the Heat hash it out, but couldn’t resist his magnetism. His set was over too soon and the crowd lined up at the merch booth to ensure that wouldn’t be the last time they got to experience what Romano had to offer. His sound is refreshing, incredibly welcomed above the tractor-pull, lyin’ and cheatin’ country music that floods the airwaves today. He’s been compared to the greats of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. And I can’t say I disagree.

Daniel’s en route to Manchester, TN to play Bonnaroo this Saturday, then hitting a few more US venues before making his way back to Ontario.

Be sure to keep a look out for him, as his work on his latest album Come Cry with Me just landed him a spot on the long list for the 2013 Polaris Prize, a music award annually bestowed upon the best full-length Canadian album, this year yielding a $30,000 cash prize. Past winners include Arcade Fire’s Suburbs and Feist’s Metals. I anticipate more to come from Daniel Romano, but until then I’ll nurse the proverbial broken heart he left me, with his nominated album I was lucky enough to grab the other night.