Album Review: Jeremiah Daly – The Darkness Will Be Over Soon
Phrasing might be the most under-appreciated element of good performance and it’s particularly important when delivering carefully crafted, poetic lyrics. Jeremiah Daly, a Jacksonville singer songwriter, is gifted at the art of phrasing. From the opening lines of his album The Darkness Will Be Over Soon you can hear the poet’s impulse for delivery. There are no wasted breathes. You get the sense that he’s speaking about someone he loves in words he really uses every day; it’s not a superfluous attempt to sound fancy, in song or lyric, but the heartfelt expression of honest love. And it never gets old.
“Golden,” is the melodic and sincere opener to the album. It is a message for someone who is with a person that he loves. It’s advice, really, telling that person how to treat this person that he cares about. “You’ve got to be selfless every day… don’t be anxious; instead you should pray.” It’s a lovely track, showing a beautiful heart. It’s perfect for folks starting a relationship or a marriage. Beyond that, though, the comment about faithfulness and prayer gives hints towards Daly’s focus on faith and love that ripples through the entire album.
The second track is a bit sillier, “My Darlin’ Rose.” It’s certainly still a serious song professing genuine love, but it is a toe tapper. When the gang vocals enter the track, I can’t help but smile and sing along. It provides a welcome shift before returning to the more sanguine sounds of the rest of the album. The following track is a stunning duet with Alexis Medina titled “Texas.” The two voices blend wonderfully together, with what sounds like a unique fusion of old time country (Alexis) with new model folk (Jeremiah). They sing about love and belonging in convincing fashion.
The fingerpicking on “Some Things” gives just a glimpse into the sincere songwriting of Daly, but it’s really the lyrics that does it for me. “Some things take you but won’t let you go…” He captures images about life experiences with the kind of lyric pictures nothing short of Dylanesque. The wisdom that Daly exhibits stuns me, talking about moving on from difficulties in life. It’s okay that these good and bad things happened in your life, but you have to move on. Even the production on it is perfect, sure not to take away from the weighty, persuasive lines.
“I’m standing right in the middle of happy and sad…” That’s the clever opening line for “In Those Days,” an interestingly paced song about wishing to stay with someone. The listener gets the sense that it’s a song about conflict or maybe even breakup. It’s not clear whether he’s trying to convince himself or his lover that he’ll be devoted to her. The song captures a moment of uncertainty and beautiful devotion, wrapped in a curious future nostalgia. It’s hard to explain, but it really works.
The sixth track on the album is by far my favorite, an inspiring and stunning track called, “Ashes.” It’s about moving out of the remnants of a former relationship. It is a track that has brought me near tears on more occasions than I care to admit. The instrumentation features Daly’s guitar and vocals of course, but then adding to that is a quiet, muted violin that creates vivid texture and intimacy. The added piano provides a hymn-like tenderness. Adding to that the line, “do you ever ask God if this is how he wants it to be? ‘Cause I do,” you can understand why it’s so moving. At the midpoint of the song, Daly let’s loose singing, expressing raw emotion. “There’s no one in the world that I could ever mistake as you.” It’s the sweetest of love letters, set to perfect instrumentation.
“Eclipse” is again about a relationship, but it also seems to bring in a philosophical message about, well, the simplest message of “being.” It basically boils down to the reality that this life is not about us. It’s about love, life, and each other. Again, it’s so profound it surprises me. The following track “At Last” sounds like an adventure. The strum pattern and hovering organ works wonders. The line opens talking about a “town full of artifacts,” that I’m sure a lot of listeners can relate to. It’s about looking for a place to go and a reason for being in the wake of a broken relationship. There’s a mixture of hope and feature that feels, stylistically, like something from the chill rock of the 70s and maybe a dash of Dawes. It’s a cool track.
Both “Fret Not” and “Mountain” continue developing Daly’s themes of life in relationship with other crazy, fall humans. They are tracks about coping with the difficulties of life corporately and independently. “Fret Not” has the title lyric for the album, a reminder of beautiful Hope that awaits. Yet, it shows that hope through legitimate darkness characterized by thinly veiled descriptions of darkness. “Mountain” is a bit more personal, focusing on the challenge of finding your way. “If time’s been our downfall, then when will we heal?” It’s about, again, searching for direction in the wake of a relationship. The metaphors are strong on this track and the raw delivery of lyrics reveal a heart singing truth, not just more words.
The last track “Confession” is also exceptional. It’s the lightest and maybe the sweetest song on the album. Instead of the production of earlier tracks, it prefers an intimate style like Jeremiah is sitting in the room with you. The lyrics are layered and complex, winding around an intricate fingerpicking pattern. It’s here that we return to the concept of phrasing. This is actually a lullaby, delivered to a person who has moved on to a new relationship. But it’s not out of bitterness, rather a deep sense of love. “I’ve never known more rage in this world than when a man doesn’t quite grasp all that he has when he has you.” Wow. If you haven’t felt something like that, you just haven’t loved. It’s frankly the perfect way to end the album.
There’s not much left to say; if you’re a fan of acoustic singer songwriters, it really doesn’t get better than this album. You can understand every word he sings, the melodies are endearing, and each track conveys an emotion worth considering. It’s not an upbeat jam album, but neither is it melancholy and depressing. It’s raw and real, reflecting on life and love. It will captivate you; go give it a listen.