Sug Daniels | photo by Paige Walter for WXPN
The Key Studio Sessions: Sug Daniels
Leading the dynamic Delawarean funk / soul / rock and roll powerhouse Hoochi Coochi, singer-songwriter Sug Daniels is a high-energy and unbelievably engaging frontperson. As a solo artist, her half-dozen bandmates step away and the spotlight is on Sug and her electric ukulele; a combination that could mean mellow introspection in other hands, but she carries these songs with just as much sound and spirit.
Taking songs down to their skeletal forms, Daniels — now based in Philadelphia — is undeniably orbiting the folk universe, and her lyrics are highly personal and introspective, yet punchy in their storytelling. Listening to the Key Studio Sessions set she recorded this week, it feels like we’re very much on a journey with Daniels: on “Bishop’s Collar,” she’s a new face in a new town, reflecting on missed encounters and navigating new neighborhoods as much as new feelings for the folks who live across the way from her. “Sitting Down” finds her looking back, regretting mistakes but nostalgic for her roots and everything that got her where she is. “Kintsugi” is a broader consideration of Daniels’ place in a broken world, affirming that love over division is the way to go. And on “Heavy,” she’s back in that neighborhood, ready to open up to her new friends, and admitting to one “you’ve been heavy on my mind.”
Watch these performances below, check out a gallery of photos from the session by our Paige Walter, and check out the EP Franklin Street — where two of these songs can be found — over at Bandcamp. For more, catch Sug Daniels live next Wednesday, February 16th at City Winery Philadelphia, when she appears on the lineup of the Black Opry Review, a touring showcase of Black musicians working in roots, Americana, and adjacent styles. At the show, Daniels will join Autumn Nicholas, Jett Holden, Tylar Bryant, and Roberta Lea. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.