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It’s those first few music experiences you have as a teenager that impact you forever. For singer-songwriter-guitarist Daniel Kirkpatrick, performing classic rock tunes for a senior project made an indelible impression on his creativity. No matter how he tried to hide from that formative muse—be it exploring esoteric indie rock or leaving music all together and joining the corporate world—the allure of 1960s rock ‘n’ roll beckoned. With Daniel Kirkpatrick and The Bayonets’ debut, Alibis, he’s masterfully crafted an authentic album of prime modern-vintage rock ‘n’ roll.
“Calling the album Alibis stems from the fact that I looked for every reason to run away and not pursue this dream,” says the Washington-based artist with a weary laugh. “Music felt like an uphill battle because I hadn’t found myself as a songwriter. With this record, I’ve finally conveyed what I needed to put forth.”
Kirkpatrick’s transformative music moment occurred in high school when he had to organize a charity event for a senior project. As a budding blues-inspired guitarist, he decided to put something together on the life of Eric Clapton, and organized a 12-piece band to play Slowhand’s classic repertoire. The show was a huge success and pulled in over 800 ticket buyers. Though Daniel would go on to explore abstract indie-pop, the purity of expression he found that night in playing classic rock ‘n’ roll made a lasting impression.
After his indie band folded, he took a 9-to-5 job, and with no outside pressure he began to enjoy music again. “When you listen to music by yourself, the truth comes out, and I started thinking: ‘If I was in a band again, I’d do something like Roy Orbison or Elvis Costello,’” Kirkpatrick recalls. Thus began Daniel Kirkpatrick and The Bayonets
The group’s debut is rife with emotionally direct lyrics, tightly-arranged classic songwriting in the mold of 1960s British and American rock ‘n’ roll, with expansive dynamics and sensual guitar solos. The urgently anthemic “This Way” is rich with details like shimmering organs and jangly guitars that propel the track along to the soaring chorus. The smoldering “Emerald Blues” is powerfully spare with a transcendent teardrop guitar solo and a pleadingly impassioned vocal.
Kirkpatrick is an introspective writer artfully grounded with his wordcraft. “The songs are earnest without being cheesy, and poetic without being overly wordy or cerebral,” explains Jordan Cassidy, the band’s bassist. The poignant “Someday” juxtaposes a Motown-esque groove with weighty subject matter. “That song stems from finding out three people I went to high school with passed away," says Kirkpatrick. “When you’re in high school, you feel invincible and that song is about the frailty of life. The lyrics are mourning their loss, but the music celebrates their lives.” Here, his lyrics are graceful and vulnerable, he sings: We’ll mourn again, gather our friends in years to come/Lay down our grief, have strength to believe in/where we come from/But what have I done?/Who have I become?/The skin that we’re in, it’s fragile and thin/Here and gone...”
Daniel Kirkpatrick and the Bayonets will be touring around the country non-stop in support of their release.