Sleep Beneath the Willow may have just solidified Daniel Romano as a class-act songwriter, musician, and producer. The album follows on the heels of his "folk you" criticism of the music business in Working for the Music Man. It can also be seen as a huge departure from his previous gig as a member of the Canadian rock band, Attack in Black, but, in all actuality, it has been a natural and easy transition. Romano's new release is a collection of timeless and polished country songs with late 60's, AM country arrangements influenced by such artists as Lee Hazelwood and George Jones. The album is founded on genuine honky-tonk instrumentation - banjo, fiddle, acoustic and electric guitar - and great harmonies provided by Misha Bower (The Bruce Peninsula), Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station), and Lisa Bozikovic. Sleep Beneath the Willow has a vintage sound and sterling songs of life, love, morals, and ex-wives, all of which make for a great country song. The opening "Time Forgot (To Change My Heart)" embodies the whole album and shows Romano's range. I particularly like it when he hits his lower register. And, I'm aware that I have already made a Gram Parsons comparison last week, but on several tracks Romano eerily mirrors Parsons like in "Hard on You" and "Lost (For As Long As I Live)." The folk "Louise" tells a melancholy tale embellished with a lonesome fiddle and what sounds like an organ, while the playful "Hellen's Restaurant" adds fun with some word play. Finally, the album gently closes with retrained yet emotional "Nothing." It's this song that makes me so happy Romano hasn't sold out. Instead of writing for the music man, Romano is writing songs he can be proud of, songs from the soul with soul. Sleep Beneath the Willow is due out on April 5th on You've Changed Records, the label he runs in partnership with Steven Lambke.