One of the greatest aspects of city living is what I’ve come to think of as stumblability — the quality of certain places where just by drifting through them, you come across sights and sounds of such glorious wonder that merely walking down the street becomes a favored pastime.
A couple weekends ago some friends and I were walking through Golden Gate Park when we heard emerging from beneath a bridge a voice of such gentle sadness that I stopped in my tracks. Literally! I froze in place, captivated by what turned out to be a very handsome young man playing “Still Ill,” from the Smiths’ self-titled 1984 debut. A friend was filming him, and when he was done I introduced myself and demanded to know who he was and where I could buy all of his music.
As it turns out the artist’s name is Chris Daniels, and he is just starting out as a singer-songwriter in the city. He has a Facebook page, which he shared with me, and when I went there today I was delighted to discover that the video I had seen recorded was posted there for all to see. Singer-songwriters can be tough to get excited about; you think you’ve seen all their tricks, and maybe you have. But there’s always room for a voice that knocks you over, and Daniels has one: low and haunted, patient but urgent. Facebook says he is now recording his first CD of original material. I can’t wait to hear it.