Jennifer Daniels

Jennifer Daniels

BandRockSinger/Songwriter

"…songs as lyrically rich, personal and poetic as Joni Mitchell's, while at the same time as ridiculously catchy as Cat Stevens. Now imagine the songs sung by a woman whose voice is sorta like Sarah McLachlan's, only it's both more powerful and more playful.”

Biography

Three incessantly busy interstate highways wrap around the foot of Lookout Mountain, a high ridge straddling Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. But tucked into the coves, bluffs and hollers above the freeways are hairpin roads, dirt paths, hidden waterfalls and stunning valley views. Mountain native Jennifer Daniels claims this territory as her own, despite traversing the interstates to make a living. As she puts it, “I sometimes think of my songs as vertical.”
For 10 years now, the singer/songwriter has chosen a narrow, winding, mountain road less traveled than the broad highway frequented by homogenized pop superstars, cluttering the radio with disposable hooks and disingenuous, secondhand sentiment. For her, “part of the music is figuring life out. I can’t help but feel I have some Bohemian blood in me, searching for truth and beauty and love. You can’t serve the master of fame and fortune and the master of truth and beauty—no path exists for following both.”

Alongside husband Jeff Neal, who contributes tasteful guitar and mandolin support, Daniels first caught the attention of music fans in live settings—beginning in 1999—with her supple, dynamic voice and physical, absorbing delivery. It began in time-honored, grassroots fashion, with gigs in Chattanooga, Tennessee—just down the mountain from home—then short forays around the southeastern U.S. and then regular hauls up and down the East Coast and, finally, jaunts across the country, with as many as 200 dates each year.
On the road for long stretches, Daniels made Decatur, Ga’s legendary Eddie’s Attic—an acoustic-music listening room known for launching the careers of everyone from the Indigo Girls to Shawn Mullins—her home away from home. During this period Daniels was a regular contestant at the venue’s “Open Mic Shoot-Out” contests. On one particular night, she made it to the final, but fell just short of the top prize, edged out by a young upstart named John Mayer. Daniels won the contest later, topping another notable singer/songwriter, Zac Brown (whose Zac Brown Band now is blowing the doors off country radio) to do it.
Her stage reputation established, Daniels began establishing herself as a recording artist, independently releasing her 2000 debut, Fists of Flood, to raves in Performing Songwriter, which named it a Top 12 DIY Release for the year and said, “This is music that seems to have grown slowly from some rich, dark soil.”
Despite the occasional conversation with label execs, Daniels has chosen to remain independent, drawing upon her own resources for touring and recording. For Daniels and Neal, a sustainable, fulfilling life creating meaningful music and connecting personally with listeners holds far more reward than chart positions, heavy-rotation singles or SoundScan numbers.

Now, four studio albums and one live album later, Daniels has recorded her most ambitious effort, Come Undone, a song cycle in three acts. The album’s recording was fraught with more than just artistic significance, with Daniels and Neal spending sessions in wonder and anticipation at the pending birth of twins, their first children (if you don’t count songs and beloved dog Bob Marley). As Daniels notes, rather than heavy literature, “during tracking I was obsessively reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting!”
Significantly, for an artist who began her recording career with stripped-down arrangements—featuring guitars, mandolin, a little bass and not much else—on Come Undone producer Scott Smith goes for a fuller approach, with strings, electronics, a choir and a pipe organ at various moments, depending on what seemed appropriate.
“There was a whole new level of artistry, so we felt the production’s depth should fit the project,” Smith says. “The orchestration and sonic choices were a natural fit not only for the songs, but for framing Jennifer's voice in a way it hasn’t yet been heard. The complexity of her voice—both lyrically and melodically —works amazingly well stripped down, with two guitars. So the challenge was to add to this while still retaining the intimacy of her message. There's plenty of ear candy for anyone who wants to listen for it, yet those in love with Jen’s voice and the songs won't be distracted.”
Just as ambitious as the sounds—and owing, in no small part, to the significant life-changes afoot—are the themes, both epic in scope and more personal than ever. To name one example, few artists this side of Bono would have the guts to tackle an argument with God in song, but in “You Slay Me,” Daniels pulls it off. “That song practically wrote itself,” she observes, “during a night when I was grief stricken, angry and exhausted by months of sorrow, unable to understand why God would allow such heartache. Honestly, I’m afraid to perform it—it’s personal, it’s revealing and it leaves me vulnerable to misinterpretation and judgment.”
At the same time, she says, that song and one other close-to-the-bone confession, “Every Single Day,

Lyrics

Welcome to Your Life

Written By: Jennifer Daniels / Jeff Neal

Verse 1:
The stair is dark and long that leads you to the door that leads you to the show. You weary that book of song that's led you here before, and always leads you wrong.

Chorus:
Welcome to your life. Take your glory. You know that it is time to write your story. Everybody wants a line. Welcome to your life.

Verse 2:
So now the stage is set and everybody's on. -none in the crowd but me to help you to forget just where the curtain's drawn, to watch you want to believe.

Verse 3:
The dreams of the dead have left you to bury all the actions of the bold. I'm told you've just been too long away from your own heart, too long away from your heart's home.

Chorus:
Welcome to your life. Take your glory. You know that it is time to write your story. Everybody wants a line. Welcome to your life.

Bridge:
Welcome to your life. You come and you go in your life. You get tangled up in hope.

Chorus:
Welcome to your life. Take your glory. You know that it is time to write your story. Everybody wants a line. Welcome to your life.

Day to Live

Written By: Jennifer Daniels

If you're asking me for an answer I can only point you in the way I'm going, but now, if you are willing, you're more than welcome to come. I hope you're heading in the same direction.
We'll go feeding fishes by the sea and, betting more than we had to give, it may be a better day to die, but it's a good day to live.
You want my help to lift up the mountains and to move them closer down to where you're living. Hey Dear, I will give you my whole life and more to keep you smiling and to fill your heart's desire.
We'll go build a house out by the sea where all the world can live and it may be a better day to die, but it's a good day to live.
Honey, you knew that I was drowning, and so you stopped to lend both hands. But you did not think to carry me, Baby, just throw my bones upon the land. There is world and time before us to feed the hungry, heal the lame. And you're gonna have to love them enough to let 'em walk away.
If you're asking me for an answer I can only point you in the way I'm going, but now, if you are willing, you're more than welcome to come. I hope you're heading in the same direction.
We'll go feeding fishes by the sea and, betting more than we had to give, it may be a better day to die, but it's a good day to live.

Stay

Written By: Jennifer Daniels / Jeff Neal

Anchored by the hope you take for fetters
Could become your chance to bear this storm.
And even if the aching won't get better
Then at least you can stay warm.
At least you can stay warm.

When it rains, when it rains
The whole house slips away
Under blankets playing games
And speaking words the way
The sun warms up the day
Why don't you stay?

The night has gotten cold and dark and violent
And you have gotten all boxed up in fear
Renting room in loneliness and silence
When you could just stay right here.

When it rains, when it rains
The whole house slips away
Under blankets playing games
And speaking words the way
The sun warms up the day
Why don't you stay?

We dream about a brighter day that's coming until we
Believe its already on it's way
So hold on, hold on
You will never find it when you're running
Why don't you stay?
Why don't you stay?
Why don't you stay?

Oatmeal

Written By: Jennifer Daniels

You didn't have to seal that letter
You didn't have to place the stamp
And you didn't have to try to make it better
I was alright once I'd moved, in a thousand ways, away
You'll say, "Things will be so different."
But I know they'll stay the same.

You didn't have to say you were sorry
When you thought you did nothing wrong
You didn't have to stand so close
You didn't have to look so long
Yeah, I'm sure I'll cry, but not like I cried everytime
We were together and I was unknown

So now a million miles from there I know I will keep on moving
You say in time I will forget
I know I won't and keep on moving
I'm gonna keep on moving

You didn't have to tell me stories of how your mother made you oatmeal
And all while the sun was pouring down across your bed
You didn't have to make believe that you were in love with me
When you were in love with this vision of this vision in your head

So now a million miles from there I know I will keep on moving
You say in time I will forget
I know I won't and keep on moving
I'm gonna keep on moving

Get up, get on, get on out of here
In turn, how was I supposed to know?
Get up, get on, get on out of here
How was I supposed to know?
Was I supposed to wait?
Was I supposed to hope?
When what little sense I made you threw away

He Dances

Written By: Jennifer Daniels

There is a boy on the other side of town
He's jumping up. He is falling down
With memories for his buttons and a pocket full of doubts
He dances

There is a girl who waits patiently for him
To build her dreams into a fort again
To hide her from all those that cannot comprehend
He Dances

Up and down and to and fro
Upon a highway to her soul
Unpainted like a one way road
He Dances
Further from the clutch and grasp
He dashes up and dodges past them
Moving fear, disquised at best
He dances

He moves his arms with the shadow of a tree and seems just like Picasso used to be
All he sees are stones and shades and not eternity
He dances
While in the dark her piano by the door
She waits until her fingers, bruised and sore, break
On the notes of treason she never played before
He knocks

Up and down and to and fro
Upon a highway to her soul
Unpainted like a one way road
He Dances
Further from the clutch and grasp
He dashes up and dodges past them
Moving fear, disquised at best
He dances

I Don't Have Enough

Written By: Jennifer Daniels

One night spent talking by the riverbend can change your life forever
I know that the way to get you out of here is to speak my mind
So I pray and I prattle like the penitent but you keep on listening
You stay and you treat me like an innocent who was left behind

When I don't enough will to make you want it
When I don't enough strength to make you stay
When I don't enough ghost to keep you haunted
When I am loved enough that I don't feel afraid

You come all jagged claw and dragon toungue -Singe my eyes together
You come all flowers fall and summer sun to open wide
What of this frozen thing that I've become if you were not the stronger
Where would my fast and faithless waters run if you were not kind

When I don't enough will to make you want it
When I don't enough strength to make you stay
When I don't enough ghost to keep you haunted
When I am loved enough that I don't feel afraid

Every Single Day

Written By: Jennifer Daniels

Let me hold your hands palms up
And I will read the lines
I don't have gifts with which to decipher
But it would still feel fine

You could call me 'Sweetheart'
I already call you mine
And you could show me how you would hold me
If you could read my mind

All these days could make up our life
And both of our faces change
I love you
Every single day

You could show me pictures
You painted back at school
And I'd pull out those songs that I wrote that
Nobody thought were cool

If you decide to love me I'd really like to know
We could stage the rest of our days just
to tell each other so

Let those days make up our life
Let all of our hair turn grey
I love you
Every single day

So I will teach you Spanish
And how to hold a kid
And you could show me how to stay married
Just like your daddy did

I will learn to serve you
And I'll learn not to close my heart
If you'll convince me that I'm still pretty
Beside the man you are

All these days will make up our life
And all of our strength give way
I love you
Every single day

You Should Love Me

Written By: Jennifer Daniels

I caught my breath and I found my feet and I thought of why you should love me

Your candy-apple eyes
Your jeans over your thighs
Oh my!
You should love me

chorus:
I thought about it a while and every time you smile I know that you should love me
Promises be told
I'll do every single thing I know to make you love me

If you cry when I sing...
And you use the gifts that I bring...
Love's a wild thing
The more you want it the more that it can sting
You try to tame it, you lose everything,
everything

chorus:
I thought about it a while and every time you smile I know that you should love me
Promises be told
I'll do every single thing I know to make you love me

Discography

A Thrill of Hope: 6 songs of Christmas (2006), Summer Filled Sky (2004), Live at The Evening Muse (2003), Dive and Fly (2001), Fists of Flood (1998), An Invitation (4 song EP, 1997)

Set List

ONE SET - 1hr and 15 minutes (plus encore)
OR
TWO SETS - 45 or 50 minutes each.
*We are very flexible and can play longer if necessary