by Larry Flick I March 3, 2001
It’s not easy to be an artist who stands for more than the proverbial sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. One sharp political word or pointed declaration in a song can (and often will) brand a career, potentially limiting commercial and creative reach - and sometimes with good reason. After all, “message” music can get pretty dry. It’s with that in mind that we marvel at those rare artists who are brave enough to take a stand in their music and yet manage to be entertaining. Daniel Link is one of those artists.
The Austin, Texas, singer/tune-smith is currently promoting his self-made debut, Out of the Silence, a sterling EP that beautifully illuminates the emotional evolution of a gay man coming to terms with his life. Unlike similarly fashioned recordings, this project doesn’t get lost in preachy rhetoric. Rather, it’s rife with rich with slice-of-life interludes that are less about convincing the listener to see the singer’s point of view than they are about merely sharing small kernals of one person’s truth. “That’s the way to reach people,” Links says. “By being human, by being real. If you exist on their level, then they have no choice but to see you in a light similar to the way they see themselves.”
Link couches his lyrics in well-crafted, often piano-driven arrangements appear to draw influence from Counting Crows and Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac. It’s a sound that suits his introspective vocal style extremely well. It also lends a haunting edge to the set’s strongest tune, “Altar Boy,” which touchingly outlines the inner conflict of a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality and his religion. Although Out of the Silence may not initially seem to be mass-appeal fodder, largely because of its subject matter, think again. The humanity displayed here is accessible to anyone who’s ever felt left of societies center. And the music is potent enough to work for those who simply want sweet melodies and memorable hooks.