Labeled by Rolling Stone as one of ten new country artists you need to know, Kyle Daniel is no stranger to musical accolades. At the tender age of 16, young Daniel won the Southern Kentucky Blues Society Blues Challenge. Considering he first picked up the guitar at 14, it was no small feat. He has since made a name for himself in the Music City, earning the title of “Nashville’s Best Guitarist” at the 102.9 Buzz Rock Awards.
Kyle Daniel, a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky grew up with the music of southern rockers like Greg Allman and a family of bluegrass musicians. Staying true to his roots, Kyle produced and released a self-titled EP recorded at Welcome to 1979 Studios in Nashville, which takes a close look at this personal life so far.
We chat with Kyle about his musical beginnings, guitar influences and his stories on tour.
Let’s start from the beginning. What was the moment in your life that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I grew up around bluegrass musicians in my family, so naturally, it sort of found me. I played all sorts of instruments as a kid, from drums to sax, to failed attempts at learning keys. I found the guitar at 14 years old and it really changed the way I felt about playing music. I had more notes and ways to express myself so it became my main choice of communication.
Who are some of your main influences on the guitar?
I think Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Warren Haynes really shaped the way I approach the guitar from a young age. Later, I spread out and tried to find influences in players like Derek Trucks, Jonny Lang, Jimmy Paige, Freddie King and many other great blues musicians. I am a fan of the soulful players more so than the technical guys. Lately, I have been really digging into players like Sadler Vaden, Mike Campbell and really tasty players who know how to melodically make a guitar sit exactly where it should in a song.
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2018 has been a great year for you so far. What are some of the best memories made this year?
Thank you! It’s been a real blessing to release new music as a solo artist and have such a response! I feel like the best memory of the year was when I found out that Rolling Stone Country was going to feature me as an “Artist You Need to Know” before the record came out. They were the first publication to jump on board, and it was a pretty surreal experience to read that email. It was almost unbelievable that I had such a named publication interested in what I had been working on. Very grateful for Joe Hudak and the crew at Rolling Stone Country!
Releasing a self-titled EP is a bold move. Any particular reasons or stories behind the EP?
I have played with numerous acts throughout the years, and I wanted to put my own name out there into the world. It’s nerve-racking to expose yourself like that as a writer and artist, but I felt really good about the work we put into the first EP. I came off the road about two years ago to start working on myself as an artist. My main focus was to write the most honest songs I possibly could. I felt like the first EP was a direct reflection of moments or memories in my life over the past few years that have shaped me into who I am.
You’ve played with Jericho Woods and supported Clare Dunn on tour. Any great stories to share?
Oh boy! Hahaha. I really enjoyed touring with both of those acts while I did. The guys (and gal) in Jericho Woods are the absolute best folks you’ll ever meet. In my opinion, they are the epitome of Kentucky gentlemen and they represent our state with pride. We had fun like a bunch of good ole boys all throughout the southeast, but my favorite memory was when we got stuck in a snow storm in Lexington, Kentucky. We knew it was supposed to snow, and if you’re a southerner you know how people prepare for snow…well, we did not. We had a show to play! We played our show and walked out to about 10 inches in the ground. It made for a GREAT load-out! Hahaha, we somehow managed to get to a friend’s house to camp out for the night. We made it out the next morning in Elmo (our band van), with ease!
Do you have any tips for other players starting to tour or play sessions?
DON’T give up! I’ve been doing this for 18 years now and I’ve had to take a step back a few times, but I’ve never given up. The lack of forward motion, constant no’s, let downs…it’s all part of it. You have to channel that energy into inspiration and not allow it to eat you alive. This business is not for quitters. Keep your head in the game, stay present to win and always treat people with respect. Your reputation means a lot more than you think!
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What’s in your bag?
Sometimes the bag will get random stuff tossed in from time to time, but here are the essentials: Extra D’Addario strings, string winder/cutter, guitar picks, vocal eze, setlist for upcoming shows, string cleaner, mojo pouch and cloth.
What MONO gear do you use at home, in the studio or on tour?
For the past few years, I have ALWAYS packed a Dual Electric MONO case. They are built like a tank, perfect for fly dates and let’s face it, who wants to carry two hard-shell cases when you can backpack them?
What is it about your MONO case that you like and why?
I love the durability and the comfort of my MONO case. When you’re trekking around airports for what seems like miles on end, it’s crucial you have a comfortable fit. MONO gives you just that alongside adjustability. I also love that I have room for whatever I may need (strings, vocal spray, etc) in the extra pockets.
So, what’s next for you?
I have recently signed with a manager and a booking agency, so we are all SUPER excited for what is to come next year! I am going in the studio in two weeks to cut our second EP, which I’m also very excited about. These songs are, in my opinion, some of the most in-depth stories I’ve ever been able to tell. I’m stoked to see where 2019 takes us and hope you guys come along!