Denver-based Americana/neo-soul band Verses the Inevitable will perform at Syntax Physic Opera on Friday, August 3, in support of its sophomore album, Grit & Grace, released on May 5. Led by frontman and singer-songwriter Daniel Hertel, the band has grown in size and artistic scope, and the new album reflects that.
Grit & Grace is a nine-track record comprising jazzy Americana soul that occasionally evokes the dogged feel of a speakeasy one minute and a blend of familiar folk-country harmonies the next. Highlights such as “Hard Times” and "Morgan County Blues" demonstrate both the band’s artistic range and Hertel's knack for gritty storytelling.
Along with continuing his work with co-producer and lead guitarist Alex Tyler, bringing local musicians Wil Snyder, Madalynn Rose and Zachary Reaves into the fold gave Hertel a chance to stretch as a songwriter and collaborator.
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"It’s been a journey," Hertel says. "I’ve been sober now for four and a half years, so after getting my life cleaned up a little bit, I started really working on my original material. It’s been met with nothing but love from the music community here. It’s really been a dream come true."
With more headspace to focus solely on the lyrical quality and with Snyder in tow to lead the musical composition, the band has grown into something bigger than just a single artistic vision; the results are a layered, full, diverse and dynamic sound.
“Having Wil join the band over the last two years has been like a weight off my shoulders," says Hertel. "I’m not having to do as much for something like rehearsals, and sharing some of the music and musical composition work with him really allows me to focus on the lyrical contributions.
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"As a songwriter, you’re kind of stuck in your normal songwriting routine," he continues. "Starting to co-write with Wil has opened me up to different styles and really made the second album (2016's All Debts Paid) a step above the first one.”
Like so many Denver artists, Hertel mixes genres: jazz, folk, Americana, country twang and soul, and as he tells it, that mix represents the best of what's going on in Denver's music scene.
"With some of the people that I get to work with and collaborate with and play music with on a stage, it’s just a dream. I can’t say enough about Denver," says Hertel. "I really feel like there’s a renaissance of music going on in this city right now."