The Ballad of Daniel Dawson is a lot of things, a classical folksy foot-stomping melody that feels like it has graced us from a different era of music, a historical account of a hanging in Newmarket and at the end of the day, a protest anthem from structural violence. Featuring violinist Alex Herring, Louise Eatock (The Flaming June herself) wrote, recorded, mixed and produced this single from her bedroom in lockdown – the first single from a forthcoming album, Hope in a Jar. The song blends an orthodox folk-rock style with contemporary indie sound to create an immersive didacticism that takes you away through your screen.
The Ballad tells of Daniel’s prosecution, being hanged for his crimes of fixing the horse races. Daniel is aware that he is ‘just one cheat among many…a little minnow plucked from the shallows’, mulling over the hypocrisy of the class divide and the harsh punishments that defined the era. Yet, Louise is eager for us to learn from his lesson, a powerless man downtrodden by the system. Much like her 2018 release, The Woman’s Battalion, she is eager to put the critique up front, creating a bit of a protest anthem against authoritarian governance.
Simply an incredible experience in storytelling and songwriting put to record, The Ballad of Daniel Dawson will stand the test of time as a song that stands on its own two feet. It is a rebelliously creative production with its frenetic violin and folksy guitar, and is the new old themes that I’d love to see further explored in indie rock. Flaming June has been performing since the 90s and is a critically acclaimed set, but she outdoes herself with her latest release, do check it out!
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