"Straddling the line where folk/roots meets rock/blues, Miraglia has a voice that can go from a raspy come-hither purr to an Etta James-esque powerhouse belt, although she may be best known for her lead thumb — a heavy, thumping strike on her Gibson that’s backdrop percussion in itself." - Lauren Daley - The Boston Globe
"Danielle Miraglia is a treasure! She captivated her audience from the first few notes she played until the end of her second encore. She is charming, talented, a total professional, and completely down to earth. I can't wait to bring her back next year! She is always welcome on our stage."
- Barron Chandler, Director, Narberth Summer Concert Series
"Danielle Miraglia is a dynamic and captivating musician; her rich soulful voice and blues guitar mastery resonate in a performance both rare and unforgettable."
- Paul Patchel, State Street Blues Festival, Media, PA
"With hints of Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block, Danielle Miraglia is carving out a new place all her own in the music world. Simply put, she is stunning…with a voice that just comes out of nowhere. She animates a stage and commands the rapt attention of all within earshot. This is one artist to watch, she is going to be huge.”
- Jamey Reilly, The PSALM Salon
The Boston Globe by Lauren Daley - "Singer-songwriter Danielle Miraglia, making it in her own time"
Sometimes a rise can happen a bit later in life. Like Lucinda Williams, Danielle Miraglia was a quiet talent in her 20s, wowing crowds and slowly honing her craft as a poetic songwriter and deft-fingered guitarist while her voice grew smokier and sultrier. Then in her mid-30s, she seemed to burst all at once to the forefront of the Boston blues/folk scene. After graduating from Emerson College with a creative writing degree in 1998, Miraglia hit the Boston open-mike circuit. As her following expanded, accolades began to roll in, including an honorable mention at Telluride’s songwriting competition, and most recently a 2015 Boston Music Award nomination for singer-songwriter of the year.
Hometown: Grew up in Revere, now lives in Somerville
What Caught Our Eye: Straddling the line where folk/roots meets rock/blues, Miraglia has a voice that can go from a raspy come-hither purr to an Etta James-esque powerhouse belt, although she may be best known for her lead thumb — a heavy, thumping strike on her Gibson that’s backdrop percussion in itself.
Think of: Lucinda Williams with a sense of humor. Bonnie Raitt meets Janis Joplin.
Lightbulb moments: The first: “When I was 10, I started a band with my friends. I was writing these cheesy love songs in the vein of these ’80s pop sensations.
The second: “When I was 13, I was getting really into Guns N’ Roses, and I wanted to learn to play guitar. Then I discovered the Stones, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Zeppelin riffs — no one ever learns a whole Zeppelin song, you just learn every single riff.”
The third: “When I first graduated from Emerson, I was at my lowest; I had no idea what to do. I was completely lost in my own skin,” she said. “I’d go out to see live bands, and I’d almost not enjoy it because I was like, ‘I should be doing this.’ When I finally did that first open mike, I found my tribe. I dropped everything and pursued that.”
Biggest Thrill: “I’ve had little bursts of thrills: opening for Johnny Winter at the Narrows Center, playing with John Oates, of Hall & Oates. But I’m still waiting for that big, big thrill.”
Biggest surprise: “It’s more like a collective knowledge as you get older. It’s not like, ‘Surprise! You’re going to do this overnight!’ It’s a lot of work and a lot of effort to get to the point where you’re a working musician,” she said. “I got laid off from my day job in 2002, and I was like, ‘I’m not going back.’ . . . And playing four hours at a time for people who sometimes don’t give a [expletive], it makes you tough. But . . . I’ve made it enough so that I can make a living doing it. You have a short period of time to be a rock star, but you have your whole life to be an artist.”
Inspired by: Janis Joplin, Prince.
Aspires to: Tour the West Coast, release a new album.
For good luck: “Nothing. I just panic a little then I’m fine,” she said with a laugh.
What people should know: “I think, in general, people should support live music. It’s different from looking at something on your computer screen. Come out and connect with me.”
Coming soon: June 10, 8 p.m., Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, with Dayna Kurtz. June 15 and 29, 10 p.m., Toad, Cambridge.
Lauren Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston has a reputable music scene. In the 70’s there was Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band, Aerosmith, Boston, Jonathan Richman, The Cars and Billy Squire. As time went by came Juliana Hatfield, Figures on a Beach, some Talking Heads and Pixies. There were tons of alternative rock types, hardcore punk, experimental, new age, jazz and unorthodox fusing of folk (Galaxie 500, Del Fuegos, They Might Be Giants, Tracy Bonham), and a modern big band in The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones.
But, there was never anything roots oriented except perhaps – a little James Taylor and a lot of Bela Fleck. Can’t spite them, Boston’s a college town, good radio, great concerts, music schools, at one time a great mecca of record stores. I think Nuggets, Looney Tunes and Newbury Comics are still in business. Also excellent radio, WBCN-FM among them – at one time for me, second only to New York’s legendary WNEW-FM.
Anyway, there were also the every energetic Dropkick Murphys, Marissa Nadler, the bluesy Susan Tedeschi, Folk Implosion and Paula Kelly. Boston has its rap, hip-hop, R&B and classical scenes. But, the pickings are scatter shot. Not to suggest that Boston doesn’t have great talent but....some who claim to be from Boston are actually relocated college musicians. Graduated from the many fine music schools and became residents. Boston still struggles with its music identity. It’s solid, but it’s not set in stone. When you say Boston music scene – you don’t think in terms of Austin, Nashville, LA, Seattle, Philadelphia or even New York or Atlanta. Some of the foreign artists I have spoken to often cite those cities as targets to start their career – but they seldom mention Boston. Maybe that needs to be looked into and further developed. But at one time, I lived there, so I am partial to its musical importance nonetheless.
And so, along comes someone named Danielle Miraglia and she does have something to say.
The lead off track “Dead End Street,” from Danielle’s 3rd album “Glory Junkies,” – contains ten diversified alt-country-rock tracks. It sounds a little like a dash of Josh Stone crossed with late 60’s Genya Ravan of the band Ten Wheel Drive (“Morning Much Better” off the “Brief Replies” LP). Danielle also has a little nip in her voice that suggests the sexiness of Chi Coltrane (“Thunder and Lightning”). Yes, I know, Danielle probably doesn’t even know who these artists are. But, if anyone takes the time to investigate – the resemblance is valid. It only means that Danielle is following in the footsteps of some wonderful veteran performers. Other reviewers may compare her to more recent artists – but, there’s a chance that somewhere in there – one of those recent artists actually heard the artists I am mentioning and that was the launch site. After all, Amy Winehouse was a big Shangri-Las fan and those female vocalists go back even further than Ravan and Chi.
Danielle sings and plays guitar on the album and on this track there’s also a cool fiddle. It’s ultimately a memorable song. Maybe Boston will start to percolate.
The second track is a powerful tune with an aching viola/cello type sound that pushes its wonderful lyrical story forward on “Coffee Stained Thank You Card.” It sounds like a ballad strained through a blues colander. “You can’t run from yourself....” a standard line, almost a cliche in the rock world, but not as potent as the way Danielle weaves it here and now. Toward the end of the song it takes on something I don’t hear often from Boston – or today or anywhere. Danielle unleashes some strident masterful soul. Yes, soul. And that’s commendable.
She does not sound like she’s experimenting either or using it for affect. She’s using it to her own advantage and to elevate her own material’s importance. As if she knew how to put ingredients together, cook it up tasty and most importantly – serve it. And that's what a great performer does.
There’s a thick nice retro guitar intro that starts the title track and Danielle wisely sings in what I perceive as a different register. The song takes on a different tone than the first two songs. “Glory Junky,” – a steady, snaky, weaving song. The drummer is relentless on the closed high hat and it doesn’t intrude. It drives the song along and while some of Danielle's vocals are reminiscent of other female singers, her lyrical pronunciation is masterful. A brief old-style rock and roll sax break energizes it and the band is as tight as a ball of rubber bands. While the guitar is somewhat intentionally heavy with its notes the presentation is polished. All of the other instruments are razor sharp in contrast and are delightful.
“Carmella,” maintains the soulful narrative with deep velvet vocals and an under current of church organ. The strum of heavy guitar strings on this track is compelling. It has imagination and that’s what makes this song shimmer. The power of the song is actually in its restraint.
On this song, Danielle vocalizes with unique pronunciation to her lyrics. Amy Winehouse often applied her voice in a similar fashion. Sometimes, it’s not the voice alone, not the lyric or melody that propels the interest or makes the song. It’s just the simple application of certain words and how they are pronounced.
Recently, because it was August 16th – the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death -- PBS aired his world wide Aloha From Hawaii concert from 1973. Elvis was a master of knowing just how to pronounce certain words in a song to add a desired effect. I noticed this throughout the program. He didn't just sing words -- I was quite impressed with how he pronounced certain lyrics, his mike technique and how he used that to emphasize lyrics. For a closer look at what I’m talking about specifically – go to his 1974 live version of “Trying To Get To You,” off the Memphis live album (on YouTube). The way he pronounced: “When I read your lovin’ letters,” and how he dropped his notes at the end of that stanza: “...it didn’t mean a thing.....hing...” Drove the audience crazy. Then, not stopping there he summoned up all his vocal power and voodoo and sang “there was nothing that could hold me, OR could keep me... away from you.” The emphasis on a simple word like OR was extraordinary. The entire song was a performance in dramatic pronunciation, a singing lesson, a showcase, that exemplified why he was the performer and recording artist he was. This is why this song was spine tingling. My point?
Danielle sounds like she may understand that edge. She absolutely touches it at times – with fingers that hesitate at the rim of the hot boiling musical pot. But she gets closer than most of her contemporaries. This is why I believe she is a special vocalist. It doesn't sound like she is just singing words.
“Left Hand Turn,” is a little more novelty inspired. But, an artist who has a sense of humor is smart. Not every song can be angst, anger, seriousness, true love and anticipation. One must use humor to lighten up the work. It can’t always be dark and matter of fact. This song dabbles with humorous lyrics, prominent aggressive backup female vocalists and a sweet accordion. Despite my word novelty, the song is in no way silly. It has meat on its bones, and Danielle knows when to apply her Bonnie Bramlett growl. (For those who don’t go back that far, Bonnie was part of a great band called Delaney & Bonnie and Friends – that featured "friend" lead guitarist Eric Clapton. It's Bonnie’s soaring backup voice on the classic “Comin’ Home,” and "Free The People," that tugs at me here. Trivia: It's Bonnie’s daughter Bekka who was once a member of Fleetwood Mac).
An effective voice switch again – “Heat of the Win,” has rich lyrical storytelling and a mournful fiddle. Danielle’s voice is higher, with a younger sound. Her poignancy is real – the tale that unfolds is first class alt-country. This does not sound like something that would have sprouted from the musical soil of Boston – but Nashville. Taylor Swift may be considered country today but this is what today’s country music should sound like.
The scorcher on the album begins with a rousing harmonica with acoustic guitar and what sounds like a Resonator guitar. I could be wrong. It unleashes a rollicking vocal attack in a Tracy Nelson & Mother Earth style here (“I Need Your Love So Bad”). Danielle is country-blues personified. This song is like a big bonfire and Danielle just keeps pouring kerosene on it. She has so many big shoes to follow and some she may never have heard of. What makes me respect her approach is that she uses all her natural resources intelligently to ignite a brilliant porch pounding saloon romper in “Tear It Down.” This is the mother lode. Excellent. If one song points this woman in any direction for a career – this is the high water mark.
Danielle gets funky next as she adds some Bar-Kay oriented horns to great effect on“Warning Fair Warning.” This has a nice Muscle Shoals groove. Steve Cropper guitar-inspiration. This is all good, because it means a legendary style can and will be carried into the future by some young people -- who get it. This woman sings country and dabbles in soulful-funk. What more can an aficionado ask for? This is invigorating stuff and it works effectively. It’s another song that will motivate a bar crowd up off their respective asses to dance and boogie. Oh, the band may have to play behind a wire cage (reference the Patrick Swayze film"Road House") -- but so what? This audience appreciates their music with their boilermakers and Mickey’s Big Mouth beers. Danielle’s fiery performance is commendable and very Ten Wheel Drive in spirit and energy.
“Famous For Nothin’,” exemplifies once again why Danielle Miraglia is an interesting artist. This sounds like none of the previous songs. This returns with a fiddle, vocals are like vanilla ice cream with cognac poured over it – and ignited into a blue flame. It drives, is stirring and with its acoustic guitars and bass it sets the mood as it cuts the prairie air like a diesel. It echoes a Rolling Stones country song or Jefferson Starship when Papa John Creach was a member and rosined his bow with them.
An album collection should be a cohesive piece -- start to finish. This album has that. Suggestion? An instrumental fade out of the title track, or all-acoustic mix with no vocals of “Glory Junkies,” would have been better conclusion. It would have ended like a movie.
This Boston album was Produced / Engineered by Tom Bianchi.
All songs were written by Danielle Miraglia. The CD package is a full color die-cut four panel – no lyric booklet, lots of images and many wonderful musicians credited – and deservedly so.
Photography: Caroline Alden
The title track has a familiarity in its guitar tones and the back beat of the drums. Miraglia comes in with her honey toned voice…with just enough grit and back barroom grime to make it something beautiful but ballsy. The horn solo at the break is great and leads right into a well placed bridge that flattens out the track at just the right time and keeps it all interesting. Strong musicianship and vocal delivery across the board here. Danielle has a humor in her lyrics, but also an edge to the words that cut a bit. You can have a slight chuckle at some of the quips in her songs, but at the same time you might do a double take and say, “hey…that was something else”.
Glory junky your hearts in the right place
but its a vacuum and its sucking up all mine
“Tear it Down” has a delta driving vibe to it. The dobro line that is prominent across it and Miraglia sings out a bit more. Where “Glory Junky” is a bit more smooth and warm, this has some attitude that I have seen and heard Miraglia blow folks away with. Just showing how diverse this gal really is. The repeating of the chorus that you can latch onto, the tasty harmonica licks, and the slide of the dobro that follows the melody of the singer’s voice to a T. It is complex in its simplicity and a very impactful tune from this record.
This is an incredibly fun record. It doesn’t take itself all too seriously and feels very natural. All the players are tuned in and every part makes sense. It has its warm parts, its rocking parts, and of course, the blues are injected to its central arteries. Danielle’s vocal is the star of the show. The collection grooves and sways, feels almost like it should have been released in the early 70s alongside Exile on Main St. A great new record exploring some exciting new sounds for the singer-songwriter that still stays true to her roots. Excellent.
Danielle Miraglia & The Glory Junkies will celebrate the release of the new album “Glory Junkies” with a rockin’ full band show at Davis Sq. Theater. w/ Special guests Spotted Tiger. You can get your tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1393470
A blistering version of “Stagger Lee” occurs seven tracks deep into Danielle Miraglia’s most recent album, Box of Troubles. The notes come fast and hard. The thumb pick on the bass strings is like a jackhammer, insistent in its driving urgency. The tempo is faster than I’ve ever heard it before, but it seems right. Her voice is strong and expressive with a whiskey-stained authority, peppered occasionally with a raspy growl, as she sings: Police officer, how can it be / You can arrest everybody but cruel old Stagger Lee? That bad man, cruel Stagger Lee … Her slide guitar sets up an ominous drone....
The second track is another searing blues number, but more contemporary. “Loud Talker” is a different kind of wake-up call to anyone not familiar with Danielle’s gifts. The central character is a clinical case study, a composite of a certain type of temptress found in and around the bar scene: I’m no street walker / Just cause I’m rubbing up against this pole / My tight dress is for me alone / But, don’t you want to take me home? Full of contradictions, this genus alcoholica presents a perfect opportunity for Danielle’s astute observational and storytelling skills: Look at me, don’t look at me / Look at me, don’t look at me / Hold me… Hold me … Don’t let me be lonely / I’m so lonely … Get off of me… Her husky alto, riding over the sound of her steady foot stomp, the lap steel, fiddle and lead guitar, packs an unforgettable wallop. The male of the species got off easy this time, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been watching.
An interview with this refreshingly affable, down-to-earth performer reveals how she became the player and writer she is today....
Full Story Here!
The Hippo - New Hampshire's Weekly: Only the "g" is Silent - Michael Witthaus - April 2014
Blues veteran James Montgomery returns to Milly’s Tavern on April 25 and, continuing a tradition begun when the occasional series launched in 2012, the harmonica player and singer has invited a female guitar player to open the show, and sit in with his band at night’s end.
Danielle Miraglia should complement Montgomery nicely. Steeped in Delta blues, with a thumb-and-finger picking style owing plenty to her role model Mississippi John Hurt and a bit to the Piedmont school of guitar playing. She’s a musical dynamo who sings with gutsy passion, blows a mean harp and writes songs both tender and timely. Only the “g” in her name is silent.
A few inches north of five feet tall, Miraglia also proves the adage that great things come in small packages. She performs on a tall stool while toe-tapping rhythm on a custom-built percussion board she calls “Stompee.”
“I paid full price for red Frye boots, and I justify the expense by saying they’re a musical instrument,” Miraglia said after a recent set at Sunapee Coffee House. “I used to sit on a chair and I needed to be higher, so I came up with this thing shaped like a U … a friend of mine who can build anything made it for me.”
Miraglia found her blues muse as a teenager listening to Janis Joplin on a Walkman as she strolled along Revere Beach. Before then, she fancied herself a rocker.
“When I decided I wanted to play guitar, I loved heavy metal,” she said. “Guns ‘n Roses; then Hendrix and Zeppelin.”
Knocking around the mid-’90s Cambridge/Somerville open mike scene, she found the blues.
“I started hearing that sound and found that fingerpicking was more comfortable to me,” she said. “When I got a Gibson J-45, it changed everything. It taught me how to play; I never wanted to put it down.”
Her affection is evident; the six-string acoustic is scuffed from use, looking three times its age and imbued with soul. To hone her skills, Miraglia took lessons from local guitarist Jeff Bartley — “great fingerpicker with wonderful tone” — and studied archival footage of Hurt’s playing. She watched Happy Traum and John Sebastian instructional videos interpreting the blues master’s style.
Throughout, “I tried to find my own feel, not belabor every tiny note that happens,” she said. “Because that’s not my nature. By not copying it exactly, I found my own way.”
After graduating from Emerson College, she continued to play out in Boston area bars, honing her onstage patter and writing songs. In 2001, getting laid off from a day job became a sign to play music full time. Miraglia released her first CD that year.
Vocally, Miraglia echoes her idol Janis and white blues great Bonnie Bramlett and evinces stunning sensitivity as a songwriter. She held the coffeehouse crowd rapt on “You Don’t Know Nothin’.” From her 2005 album Nothing Romantic, the song about easy judgment closely reflects the current political divide. “Loud Talker” is a charmer, a sexy shuffle about a bar scene that’s drunken or bipolar — take your pick. “Hold me, don’t let me be lonely … get off of me,” she sings.
She tells charming stories, about her father’s lifelong frustration with Red Sox preceding “So Close” and getting sucked into her new mother in law’s enthusiasm for big weddings to introduce the love song “You Make Everything Better.”
Her Coffee House set closed with “Choir,” a sing-along perfect for the Sunapee church basement setting, and an apt reflection of the 1960s spirit and modern doubt at the heart of Miraglia’s music.
“When Dylan sang his words into the wind, it rumbled like a universal hymn … no one was listening but the choir.”
As seen in the April 24, 2014 issue of the Hippo.