Al "Coffee" McDaniel may be a new voice to the blues, but he is not new to the world of music. He has been performing professionally since he was five years old. It was then that he fronted a gospel band. Granted, this band was comprised of siblings, but he knew even then what course his life would take, and the direction he would pursue.
McDaniel's Blues in My Shoes, released on McDaniel's private CPA Records label, is a landmark recording for the blues. It may very well be the first modern day urban blues opera. This fourteen track CD, possibly autobiographical, in music and song tells the story of a man who finds himself married to a woman who is controlling, abusive and unfaithful. He asserts his autonomy from this relationship, meets and falls for another woman who ultimately helps his career as she helps him attain fame and notoriety.
McDaniel, who is responsible for the compositions and arrangements, is accompanied by two of the most recognizable names in the music industrylegendary producer/songwriter/drummer, Narada Michael Walden, and blues great, guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter, Lucky Peterson. With this level of future hall of fame artists joining McDaniel on this project, Blues In My Shoes has genuine Grammy awards potential.
The CD includes songs ranging from traditional blues, to Chicago and Texas blues, mixed in with a nice touch of R&B. While he paints each track with a different tint and hue from the Blues pallet, McDaniel defines each track with lyrics that paint a picture as though he were a fine visual artist. Each track, solid enough to stand on its own, comprises another act and scene that unfolds a greater narrative. McDaniel's portrayal of the night club entertainer bedeviled by the woman to whom he is married, a woman who would possess him and destroy him, is particularly poignant.
With the two-disc A Shoe Is A Shoe (CPA, 2006) representing a fork in the road and Blues in My Shoes the direction he has chosen, Al "Coffee" McDaniel is an artist whose path is clearly one to follow.