We’ve likely all heard dozens of versions of this timeless classic, with lyrics that date back more than 100 years paired with a ancient folk tune. For his grass-inflected cut, Danny says he took an unexpected inspiration.
“I’ve always loved the Johnny Cash rendition of Danny Boy from the American recordings with Rick Rubin. I started singing this song with a pedal steel player a few years back at a show at the House of Blues in Cleveland, and it went over really well, so I thought I’d work out my own version. Then I got Tim O’Brien to cut it over at Neal Cappellino’s studio in Nashville. Tim’s singing on this, and it just made me weep.”
To give it a touch of grass, they didn’t speed up the song, but added a subtle banjo from Scott Vestal burbling in the background, with emotive fiddle from Billy Contreras over Tony Wray’s guitar and Ethan Burkhardt’s bass. It’s very effective in offering a new side to this familiar ode to longing.
The video nicely captures the poignancy and spirit of the song, and why it has long animated a sadness in the Irish who have left their island home to make a life elsewhere.
Check it out…
Promised Land is scheduled to release on July 21.