Dagger or a Dram
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Dagger or a Dram

Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"WInter Wonderland at Church"

"Everyone I know that knows of the band Dagger or a Dram would not miss a Dagger or a Dram show. They are amazing and tight live... Each Dagger original complimented the one before it.. I plan on hitting any and all future Dagger shows and I suggest you do the same."
- -Mark Kaye, Hear Now Live

"Hard Rock Cafe Sells Out!!!"

Dagger or a Dram (www.myspace.com/daggeroradram) hit the stage next and they continue to impress each and every crowd. Tom McKnight's vocal prowess exudes Rock N' Roll Star! Their energy and songs had every fan in the audience taking notice. The highlight of their set was Rod Stewart's "Maggie" and their own "Stoned, Drunk & Dead." The band was on fire from beginning to end. The future is bright and they continue to climb the ranks of being one of the best bands in Boston with songs that cover the gamut of Rock N Roll, Soul, Reggae and Country. - -Mark Kaye, Hear Now Live

"Highlights from the HearNowLive Weekend"

Familiar riffs and stories of home and yesterday is what define Dagger or a Dram. Tommy McKnight's distinct vocal is what puts Dagger or a Dram on the rise in the Boston music scene. Their original material is layered with melodies and sonic landscapes that capture the listener from the get-go and they did this on Friday night (June 13th) at Copperfield's. Highlights included "Stoned, Drunk & Dead" and the Black Crowes-Like "Streets" a sweet rocker about hitting the road and taking chances. The perfect segue from "Streets" into the set closer a rousing rendition of the Who's "The Seeker" had the fans screaming for an encore and solidified a new great band coming out of an ever-evolving Boston Music Scene. - Mark Kaye, Hear Now Live

"The Noise Reviews 9"

Post Colonial Records
Dagger or a Dram
9-song CD
There’s a kind of neo-Crazy Horse/ Neil Young vibe on the first tune, along with a tight, rolling guitar sound. My curiosity was piqued. The country-esque twang remained on the next tune, an appealing thing without being overbearing. It was on the third tune that the word Americana as a musical term came to mind. Some would say, oh no. But it really sounded good. These guys have it together and know how and why they sound like they do. A lot of bands don’t have that self-awareness in their overall sound. Dagger or a Dram’s music exhibits confidence—that one thing so many acts try to convince people they have but don’t. The aforementioned styles sort of segue into a more modern sounding alternative awareness as the disc moves along, which is nice. All in all, a really good album from a bunch of guys who say they like to drink whiskey and rock out. (Mike Loce)
- The Noise Jamaica Plain, MA

"Review of 9 by Indie-Music.com"

By Dan MacIntosh

Hybrids are all the rage in our ever-greening car culture these days. It isn’t just Al Gore driving them babies, ya know. But hybrids of the musical variety have always been big favorites among music fans. Dagger or a Dram is itself a hybrid of sorts, as Tommy McKnight, James Chiarelli and Chris Phillips rock, but with a tinge of twang. This may be a combination that’s been around the block a few times, but there’s nothing at all wrong with sticking with what works.

"Loanfoot Avenue" is a perfect example of this stylistic combo platter. While the guitars may jangle rock & roll style, the beat is nearly a two-step, and lap steel and mandolin are also added for good (country) measure. One of the disc’s more rocking numbers, however, has a title that fits equally well with either a George Jones song or an AC/DC track. He’ll stop loving her today, don't you know, if he drives too long along that highway to hell because he’s almost certain to end up "Stoned, Drunk, & Dead."

Speaking of George Jones and country music, one might wrongly assume "Merle" is about traditional country great Merle Haggard. But such is not the case, as this song is a love song where a man is planning to run away with his girl. (Merle tunes make great running music, by the way).

Dagger or a Dram is at its gentlest during "No Shame," which moves to quiet acoustic guitar and is highlighted by lonesome harmonica. On this one, Chiarelli harmonizes with lead singer McKnight, for a sweetly sad song. It’s almost spoiled, however, by some overly robotic percussion. One titled "Who," however, is the most unexpected song of all on this collection; it isn’t country or rock, but reggae, instead.

Dagger or a Dram is both a band name and a song title, as this disc ends with the song which states, "A dagger may cut you, but a dram takes its toll." The song sounds a little bit like The Band, with its finger-picked guitar and subtle organ. The lyric also features a sadder than sad commentary on life. "Some become dreamers, some waste away, most change their ways much too late."

Both McKnight and Chiarelli produced this release, and it’s quite an impressive effort. These men may have country in their past, but they no doubt have plenty of rock & roll in their blood. The lyrics to some of these songs, such as the eponymous track, are especially good, which makes this vehicle one hybrid with plenty of potential for staying power. - Indie-Music.com

"Rootstime (Dutch Review)"

De stuwende krachten achter de formatie ‘Dagger Or A Dram’ uit Boston, Massachusetts zijn Tommy McKnight en James Chiarelli die door het oprichten van deze rockgroep probeerden om hun muzikale ei te leggen met zelfgeschreven klassieke doch zeer melodieuze rocksongs. Voorheen speelden beide muzikanten sinds 2002 al samen in de rockgroep ‘PCR’. Intussen heeft ‘Dagger Or A Dram’ al drie full-cd’s uitgebracht en deze “9” was daarbij de eerste vrucht van noeste arbeid. Oorspronkelijk werd dit album al in de winter van 2007 op de Amerikaanse markt uitgebracht. Nu stuurde de groep ons een exemplaartje toe om support te vinden voor een Europese promotiecampagne. De band leeft intussen van de vele live optredens die ze in de regio van Boston verzorgen. Hoe ze dan klinken kan je beluisteren op een recent uitgebrachte cd “Live At The Basement”. De pers relateert hun stijl aan die van bands als The Faces, The Band en Neil Young hetgeen voor de swingende rockers zeker toepasselijk is. Het swingt echter niet in alle songs en wij vinden meer plezier en onze smaak in de melodieuze songs zoals “Streets” en het schitterende “Merle” waarin wij graag een meer treffende vergelijking met ‘Band Of Horses’ of ‘My Morning Jacket’ zouden willen poneren. Zanger Tommy McKnight laat een zeer mooie stem horen in deze songs en gitarist en lap steel speler James Chiarelli etaleert zijn kunstjes ook al regelmatig in de “9” songs op dit album. Voor het nummer “No Shame” neemt hij zelfs even de microfoon over als zanger. Andere hoogtepunten op dit voortreffelijke album zijn de songs “Hyperdrive” en “Stoned, Drunk & Dead”. Ook het leuk swingende reggaedeuntje en niemendalletje “Who” kan ons meer dan bekoren, net als de afsluitende ballad “Dagger Or A Dram” die blijkbaar tot de groepsnaam heeft geleid. De heren tonen dat ze veel belang hechten aan de opbouw van hun songs en de aanwezigheid van een sterke melodie is ook al onontbeerlijk. Dit is een heel leuk schijfje van een band waar wij heel graag spoedig wat meer van zouden willen vernemen. (valsam) - Rootstime Belgium/Netherlands

"The DAGGER OR A DRAM - 9 Review"

9 opens with a tune called Script which is by far the best song on the CD. I was immediately sucked in by the country/rock flavor and drive. By the time I got to the 4th song I had to skip back to the beginning to make sure it was even the same artist.

Most of 9 sounds like The Eagles with less backing vocals. This has its pros and cons. On one hand, Dagger or a Dram has the opportunity to reach a large audience with its sound. The production and performance are awesome. The lyric writing is also very good.

On the other hand, most of the CD sounds like something I’ve heard before, which, again, is not necessarily a bad thing. People do tend to gravitate towards things they are familiar with and from that standpoint, I can see these guys taking their music to great places. - EvO:R Entertainment


Live from the Basement



Tommy McKnight and James Chiarelli formed Dagger or a Dram to fulfill their constant thirst for two things: Rock and whisky. Both are easily accessible and should be enjoyed responsibly, or irresponsibly. Tommy and James, both formerly of the band PCR, began playing together in the Fall of 2002. Shortly after, they began writing and recording with childhood friends Jesse Norris and Drew Finch. Since then they have recorded three cds, including the album 9, and played almost 200 shows in the Boston area and throughout New England. In the summer of 2007, they began recording with Chris Phillips on keyboard and will be joined by both Chris and Arthur Chaillou, an additional guitarist, for live shows. Later that fall Dagger's first album, 9, was released and is now available through www.cdbaby.com and iTunes. The record's drums were tracked in August of 2007, at Studio Noir in West Bridgewater. Over dubs were recorded at Post Colonial Records, and the finished product was mixed at Blue Jay Studios and mastered at MWorks in Cambridge, MA. With the release of 9 in the winter of 2007, Dagger finally made it to the stage on April 25th at Copperfields in Boston. Since then, the band has played to enthusiastic audeiences at various clubs throughout the city, including a sold out show at the Hard Rock Cafe. In addition they have taken to the stage at some of Boston's best clubs, including Bill's Bar, Olivers, and Church. With the Dagger line up in full force, they move in 2009 with a new album in sights and an ever-growing fan base behind them.