Happy album release day to songwriter-poet Danielle Howle! Her 16th album, Current, is out today on KRS Nashville! Danielle Howle is a free spirit on a mission: “I want to be your friend, but also blow your mind,” she says – and on her latest album, the South Carolina songbird accomplishes both with tenderness, charm, and effortless ease.
A lifelong artist and natural storyteller, Howle has lived a million lives in one, releasing well over a dozen studio albums in a twenty-five-year career that has traversed genres, styles, and cultures, encompassing everything from country-swamp-blues and jazz to folk, southern rock, indie, and Americana – all while endlessly exploring the depths of the human condition. She’s opened for legends like Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt, and was a close friend of the late singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, but Howle doesn’t focus on, nor does she live in the past: Her head and her heart are in the present, as is made abundantly clear throughout her highly anticipated sixteenth studio album, Current.
Current is a particularly intimate, up-close-and-personal record that puts Howle and her raw humanity front and center. “I wanted to be folk as fuck, man,” she laughs. “Staying very earthy and folky. I’ve done lots of different styles of music, which caused battles between people that wanted to help promote me. For me it was more about the people and what kind of music we would make together. In my early years we were a family, and we would make what the family wanted to make. In my later life, I’ve found the people I’ve wanted to do it with.”
Howle cites Currents and her 1999 release Catalog as two albums existing at the epicenter of her own vision, rather than that a collective. “It’s also the vision of producer Jeff Leonard, Jr.,” she adds. “He wanted to record an album with me that showed the sonic essence of me and showed my voice.” Working with Leonard, Howle brought on musicians like guitarist Josh Roberts, who adds his own flare to the album as well.
That vision is one of urgency and connection. “I’m just listening to what my spirit and what the earth wants me to write right now,” Howle admits. “I feel like my songs are reminders that we’re not alone, and we’re part of something greater than ourselves, and there’s a responsibility there. That’s where I feel things, but I don’t want to say that out loud; I just want to live it through my observations and what I write about.”
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