While not purely country, the harmonica- and
pedal steel-laden tunes of the new album, called Brown and
Blue, do maintain the level of brutal honesty so prevalent
in that cosmic country era. It's a collection of loss and
misery, of wounded hearts and broken bones, of desperation
and desolation. But that's not to say the listening
experience is a drag. Instead, Folmer presents the
collection as a just-the-way-it-is take on life's hardships
without any unnecessary fluff. The first single, "Brakeman,"
is even delivered with a bit of self-aggrandizing swagger.
Blue comes as a result of a tumultuous time in Folmer's
life, where he made the transition from Denton to Canyon
Lake, from despair to peace. Working on a horse ranch,
Folmer found himself listening to the appropriate
soundtrack: country music. That sound permeated his first
DDs release, and plays a role, albeit smaller, in Brown and
just as likely that the album continues Folmer’s adroit way
of giving country music relevance to those who don’t love
the form. Song by song, Brown and Blue is a refreshing take
on the tear-in-my-beer country ballad. This time Folmer and
his buddies demolish every particle of slide-guitar
sentimentality — the kind that can take down a folk outfit —
and keep just what each song calls for.
Daniel Folmer, who was fairly prolific before he left, is
again focusing on recording with his full band: Danny Rush
and the DDs. His new record, due out this month, follows in
the vein of the first DDs release. Where some of Folmer’s
earlier albums were meticulous in their navel-gazing
psychology, his last two records are a countrified, more
comfortable embrace of his contradictions.
On his new album, Danny Rush and the
Designated Drivers, confessional tales of heartbreak,
self-destruction and loss reveal that Folmer's rock bottom might
also be his current artistic peak.
-Cole Garner Hill, Quick DFW
and the DD'scertainly has a different feel than most of Folmer’s past
releases. There are heavy country influences here that in
previous albums have only shown up on rare occasions. However,
all the things that have made Folmer great have remained the
same with this album.
The songs are – for the most part – brutally honest
accounts of human nature
Overall, Folmer creates a thought-provoking work of music
(with Dead End). There’s a lot to be said for albums that
inspire the listener to look inward for reflection instead of
reaching for the coldest beer. Discontent and restlessness
produce a strange relationship to the music without leaving the
listener drenched in gloom. I wouldn’t go so far as to say
“uplifting”, but there’s a quality that just…you know… makes you
feel like it’s going to be okay. Whatever “it” means for you.
My laptop and I sat down with Daniel Folmer's new album, Dead
End, to explore this strapping young Dentonite's disconcerting
depth and came out the other end in a gorgeous, crippling
Last year, Folmer doled out the consistent and satisfying A Leaf, and with his newest offering, The Roaring Twenties, he stays true to his own brand of dramatic, obsessive (realistic, not creepy), romantically spirited lyricism ("Skin & Bones," "Prison Guard" and "Roaring Twenties" are lyrical as well as melodic highlights), while showing even more skill at the musical self-edit—something that many writers never master.
Folmer occasionally wails like a man
trapped with nothing but regrets and all the time in the world
to analyze himself. But there’s unaffected pop beauty in there
as well; a rolling, vivid blend of life viewed as something like
- Preston Jones, Fort Worth Weekly
His new album, which will be released this weekend, sees the prolific artist tackle broader themes and poppier arrangements. On The Roaring Twenties, Folmer writes about the tug of war between running wild and settling down.
- Hunter Hauk, Quick
Daniel Folmer may have come on the scene in 2006 as a wide-eyed wunderkind, but with 2007's Gloria, and now A Leaf, he's starting to carry himself like a keen observer of the human condition.
- Dave Sims, Dallas Observer
What is it about Denton that spawns such great lo-fi ballads? A decade after Centro-matic comes Daniel Folmer, another act with a knack for slow, dreamy haunting melodies. The Paper Chase's John Congleton helped produce the CD, but the 21-year-old Mr. Folmer did just about everything else, from singing and playing guitar and keyboards, to writing the tunes. And he's not a happy-go-lucky type (sample title: "Sorry for Being So Sorry"), but his dry humor often creeps through.
- Thor Christensen, Dallas Morning News
Anyway, his lyrics--about weird, one-off love affairs and things that go bump in a graveyard--are a nice counter-balanced to the pretty classically structured pop instrumentation of his tunes. "Robots," off his new A Leaf (which Dave Sims reviewed in this week's paper), is a perfect example: It's a fairly quick-paced pop-rock ditty that's put together quite well (well done, Echo Lab-ers) and, oddly enough, is about, well, robots. But robots in love with, so far as I can tell, their own dying technologies.
The Dallas Observer says Denton's Daniel Folmer is "on the precipice of something brilliant," and after spending a few days with his new record Gloria, we tend to agree. Daniel is responsible for basically all of the instrumentation on Gloria, and most of the record was recorded by John Congleton, who has worked with Explosions in the Sky, the Mountain Goats, and produced the Polyphonic Spree's amazing new record, among others. Here is the beautiful and sad album-opener from Gloria, which only scratches the surface of Daniel's knack for crafting plaintive, affecting songs that reward repeat listens with increasingly intense heartache.
Throughout Gloria Folmer forsakes the playfully nerdy aspects of Headphones and instead plunges into a mature examination of relationships and rites of passage. "I don't have the fortitude, and you don't have the time," sings Folmer on "Warmth of a Dryer," looking for answers when he knows none are available. With an emphasis on distorted guitar accompaniment, Daniel Folmer is on the precipice of something brilliant.
Review of "Gloria" by Darryl Smyers, Dallas Observer
Daniel Folmer’s new album A New Leaf is available now on Gutterth Records. Focusing in and out of a relationship, he uses pop songs to emote distant sentiment, romance, joy and frustration. The album was recorded on quarter inch reel to reel during two sessions with Justin Collins (Centromatic, Doug Burr, Robert Gomez, Record Hop) and mastered by Matthew Barnhart (Shearwater, Baptist Generals, The New Year), at the Echo Lab and Satisfactory Studios.
Folmer's been hanging out in his small apartment, delivering pizzas in an un-air-conditioned car and writing about six songs a year since 2002. Inspired by his parents' love for music, Folmer incorporates elements of Neil Young, David Bowie and even old-school country into his minimalist compositions. Folmer's fragile tenor dances across the skeletal backdrops like a resurrected Nick Drake fronting Yo La Tengo.
-Interview/review of "Wear Headphones" by Darryl Smyers (Dallas
Sure enough, the 22 songs (that's right, 22 songs) on Folmer's Wear Headphones offer a certain matter-of-factness, and many of them feel like a straightforward journal, née diary, entry...if guys really admitted to writing in diaries.
Review of "Wear Headphones" by Merritt Martin, Dallas Observer
Denton folk singer Daniel Folmer puts it all out there with lyrics: fear, insecurity, self-deprecation and regret over love gone awry.