Sound Off: Danielle Blakey, "Driving Song"

Today's featured artist is Danielle Blakey, another talent from Australia. Here's a bit of her bio:

Young, fresh and gorgeous, DANIELLE BLAKEY has already come to the attention of Star Maker judges, US TV producers and even SHANIA TWAIN’s former guitarist DAVID MALACHOWSKI. Her sound is refreshing and pop-py; seriously modern contemporary. Danielle has written nine of the ten tracks along with producer PETER NORTHCOTE. The tenth is Anybody Listening, the track that landed a spot on the hit US TV show Smallville. The tracks are vital and alive. Opening track Back Home tells of missing the country life. Driving Song

is totally hot with an irresistible rocky beat. Tell Me is delightful; about that first moment when love hits so hard it knocks the words out of your mouth. The Kiss is foot-tappingly catchy. Alright has a youthful country sweetness. Back To You is unadulterated unapologetically swinging jazz. Danielle’s music has big touches of jazz, rock and pop but the underlying feeling is sweet green grass country

Check out the links below to read more about Danielle Blakey, and to download the track “Driving Song.”  Once you've listened, sound off in the comments!

Download: Driving Song

MySpace Page: Danielle Blakey



  1. HOLD THE PHONE! She’s caught the attention of Shania Twain’s former guitarist! Now if that isn’t a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is!

    Are they serious? Shania Twain’s former guitarist?! If so, my grandma know this guy, who knows this guy who used to be a banjo player in a bluegrass band, and I hear he’s trying to get a new deal…

  2. SOLD!!

    Thank you for the free download, Kevin. I liked it so much that I downloaded the whole album from iTunes. I definitely hear the Keith Urban influence–almost a mixture of him and Taylor Swift, what with the songwriting and the pop-ish tendencies. Are they promoting her on radio here in the states? I see the album was released back in March.

  3. Casey–really?!

    I mean, we all have our own tastes but…really?!

    I would like you to explain to me–and the rest of the world–what it was about this download that engaged you to the extent that you were willing to immediately go and spend your hard-earned cash on the album.

    This is terrible. It’s an utterly atrocious song, and the vocal performance is painful and embarrassing. “Totally hot?” Totally not.

    Kevin, I’m actually surprised that you would even post this on your blog.

  4. I have to say I’m not a very big fan of this song. She had an fairly good voice though. Hopefully she can come up with a better song that might get her some attention.

  5. Jim, was it really fair of you to avoid stating your opinion of this song until someone else goes out on a limb to do so? You posted two flippant comments before the one above mine without ever expressing your opinion. Then, someone finally expresses hers and then you choose to come back and be condescending.

    It’s fine that you don’t like the song, but there are more diplomatic ways of expressing your disdain.

  6. The feature is called Sound Off, not Ringing Endorsement. I’m happy to put new music out there that might not otherwise be heard. I’ve always tried to review singles that are off the beaten path, so it’s pretty consistent with what I do here.

    As for my take on this song, I lean a bit closer to Casey’s take than yours, Jim. I think Blakey has a cool voice, and I’m a sucker for the way that Aussies approach their notes. It’s a byproduct of my childhood Olivia Newton-John crush!

  7. For the record, it doesn’t do much for me. I think her voice could be stronger. However, I feel her vocals got stronger as the track progressed.

  8. Come on Jim, it’s country music, it’s not always supposed to be oh-so-serious pitch perfection song-writing genius. Have you heard some of the stuff the Dixie Chicks write? Goodbye Earl, for instance, is about killing your abusive husband and burying him out by the lake. And they’re one of the most successful country acts of all time! With a title like Driving Song you can tell it’s meant to be a bit of fun. Give the girl a chance, it’s her debut track and she’s 22, I think it’s great for a newcomer. Obviously she could use a little refinement- but she hasn’t yet scored a record deal and she’s out there promoting herself and doing it on her own. I think she’s fantastic and I wish I had half as much talent as her. Good on you Casey for putting your opinion out there. Check out her video for this song on youtube, it’s really sexy and fun, reminds me of Carrie Underwood in “Before He Cheats” mode :)

  9. I didn’t withhold my opinion. Anyone with two watts of brainpower can deduce from my previous comments what my opinion of this song is. All I did, in response to Casey, was spell it out.

    Condescending? Leeann, this is awful. I can’t believe you guys are giving this even a middle-of-the-road response. Danielle is a very pretty girl, but she is not a good singer. It’s like listening to a very unpleasant karaoke performance.

    Belle Smith, I did give the girl a chance. I listened to her song. I even forced myself to listen to the entire song, which is more of “a chance” than she’s going to get from a label or from the record buying public, the later of which is going to change the channel before the first verse passes.

    The chances of this girl having a significant career as performer are next to nothing. Why would anybody buy into this? Because of the ridiculous exaggerations and comparisons in her artist bio?

    Give me a break. This is insulting to the handful of truly talented people who deserve our attention.

  10. Okay Jim,

    Luckily, I have two watts of brain power…at least!:) So, I did deduce your opinion about the song. I just think you could have expressed that opinion in a less combative way.

  11. I know of no metric called “brainpower,” but if it existed, it would be more likely measured in watts than in amperes. The ampere is a unit of current, while the watt is unit of power (power in the physical sense, work per second, which has nothing to do with “brainpower”).

  12. Not quite sure why so much contempt is being directed at this particular artist, or why it’s become a combat zone among regular posters here, but the tone is disappointing, to say the least.

    Thanks to Leeann for trying to coax things back to civility here, even if it was in vain. Jim, I would’ve expected a lot better from you. Picking on a newbie artist, mocking people for liking her, chastising my judgment for writing about her in the first place, and being dismissively flippant to Leeann’s multiple attempts to appeal to your better nature.

    You thanked me for acknowledging the work that goes into The 9513. How about you do the same for Country Universe by showing some more courtesy and respect to our writers and readers?

  13. Jim isn’t looking for anything logical. He can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Jim just wants to watch the world burn.

  14. Well-timed Batman allusions aside, I didn’t hate the song – in fact, I rather liked the unconventional melodic structure of the bridge – but I really don’t think her talent is in country music. I think she’s a lounge-y pop singer, and she’s still a few years from really coming into her voice. But this is a cool feature.

  15. Kevin and Leeann,
    Nice classy responses to Jim’s “John Rich moment.” It was good and perfectly fine that he was HONEST about the song but ‘attacking’ someone for liking it wasn’t a great move.

  16. I’m sure that you guys at Country Universe get lots of press releases and material from aspiring artists, because we get a lot of it at The 9513. We’ve made a decision only to write about those artists who we feel are exceptional, because we find it mean-spirited to rip some artist who nobody has ever heard of and unfair and uninteresting to our readers to feature mediocre artists simply because they happened to send us a press release. When we review a release or write a feature about an independent artist, it’s because we (or at least the author of the post) really likes what the artist is doing and thinks that they deserve the exposure. Jim Malec has written the lion’s share of these features for our site.

    The fact is that our sites represent important voices. I can’t speak for Country Universe, but I know in the case of The 9513 that, in addition to the sheer number of people that read our stuff, important people read our stuff. Artists, songwriters, journalists and industry executives. I know because they write to us, they talk about us, we see them in the history, and sometimes they comment on the site.

    Obviously it’s your prerogative to write about whatever and whomever you want to, and it’s also your prerogative to express disappointment that your readers have done exactly what you asked them to: “sound off.” However, I think that it’s legitimate to question if highlighting an artist like this, and I agree with Jim that her music is atrocious, is a good use of Country Universe’s limited resources.

  17. I think you should have just stopped at “I can’t speak for Country Universe.” The rest is an interesting insight into how The 9513 works, but has absolutely nothing to do with us.

  18. Matt C-

    I really think this type of back and forth really takes away from what CU is about. Its also a bit hypocritical to say something like “we find it mean-spirited to rip some artist who nobody has ever heard” and then do just that on another site, isn’t it? I love spirited debate , but I think we’ve all been online long enough to know what happens when comment threads descend into sniping and veiled insults.

  19. Charlie, I haven’t sniped or insulted anybody. I just wrote a post about our process over at The 9513.

    As for ripping the artist, I offered a one word opinion about her music (and did so only by way of making a larger point about the content) and avoided writing more because I have nothing good to say about it. Kevin asked for our opinions about the artist and in doing so he’s accepting the fact that some readers might not like her and may be honest about their opinions. I don’t think that it’s mean-spirited to participate in his post in the manner that he intends, especially in the reserved fashion that I did. If you have a problem with that, than your problem is with the feature, not with me.

  20. Matt C.-

    Along with writing what amounts to an advertisement for your site, you did take pot shots at CU and Kevin’s editorial discretion.

    You will also note that Kevin asked readers to listen to the music and sound off in the comments. We can only assume that he wanted us to sound off about the music, right? So when you jump into the comments with a flawed scientific rebuttal to what I considered an innocent remark, follwed by the afforementioned posts where you subtly deride this site and its “limited resources”, that’s not exactly the spirit of the feature is it?

  21. My purpose was not to advertise for The 9513. Heck, Kevin did plenty of that for us and other blogs with his open thread today. Rather, I was trying to provide some context for the exchange between Kevin and Jim. Jim has been instrumental to the independent artist features that we do but also insistent that we only feature excellent artists, and I think that it’s important to know that before attacking his motives.

    I definitely want to clarify that I was belittling CU by mentioning “limited resources.” Everybody has limited resources. Heck, the U.S. government has limited resources. Judging by the ratio of new posts on The 9513 vs. CU lately, our resources may be more limited than Kevin’s. Point is, every minute you spend writing one post is a minute that you could spend writing a different post (or for every day you feature one artist, you sacrifice the opportunity to feature a different artist).

    If you’re offended by the “brainpower” exchange, in which I made an irrelevant reply to and irrelevant comment, I really can’t help that.

  22. “we only feature excellent artists”

    I love the smell of subjectivity in the morning. Smells like….. victory! ;-)

  23. The content of the exchange between Jim and I was that after he posted several flippant comments, which included insulting another commenter and dismissing Leeann’s attempt to inject civility with more flippant comments, is that I said I was disappointed in the tone of the comment thread. I never said that I had a problem with him expressing his opinion on the music. I actually invited him to share it, in my own attempt to get the thread back to the subject at hand.

    Then Jim disappeared, and Matt picked up where he left off, missing the point of my comments completely. There has been a condescending tone and general lack of respect from both of you on this entire thread. Imagine Leeann and I going over to The 9513 and mocking the choices that you had made because we don’t happen to like an artist that you deem worthy of attention. It would be unneighborly at best and blatantly disrespectful at worst. If The 9513 and Country Universe both had the exact same ideas of what was worthy of attention, there wouldn’t be any point of both blogs existing, as the content would be redundant.

    While I take your word that it wasn’t your intent, I can see how Charlie read your comments as belittling. The underlying message seemed to be, “This is the superior judgment that we use over at The 9513, and your choices are beneath our standards.”

    Everything that you said about your own site, including being read by artists and the industry, is also true about CU, but I don’t factor it in to the choices that I make. It doesn’t interest me more than a regular reader who just likes country music. My approach is no better or worse than yours; it’s just different. And it would be pretty obnoxious of me to go over to your site and lecture you on what decisions I would’ve made regarding your content. Also, if it’s your own rule not to beat up on new artists at The 9513, I don’t understand why you’d do it here. You should raise the bar when you’re the guest and not the host, rather than lowering it.

  24. Blog feud!

    I do hope you guys will remember that every statement looks a little harsher in black-and-white than it does with the added nuance of vocal tone and body language.

  25. Actually, I should add that this isn’t a blog feud, just a disagreement. I don’t want a lack of response to that to be misconstrued as an embrace of that characterization.

  26. I’d like to characterize it as more of a misunderstanding. Jim hasn’t jumped back in, but I think that both he and I were surprised by the response to remarks that we didn’t make maliciously. Every blog has a slightly different culture and I think that we were probably a little too cavalier in posting over here like we would at our own site. So, while I still disagree with the content of your reply, I think we both realize that no one’s going to win this and continuing just makes us both look bad. I’ll certainly be more careful when commenting at CU in the future.

  27. I’ll weigh in here too, though I was hoping ot to.

    As Kevin said, we don’t have a problem with sounding off about the artists in this feature or any of our features, but we’d like it done in tasteful ways. I know we talk differently over the internet than we might in “real life”, but as Chris pointed out, that’s all the more reason to be careful when “talking” on the internet.

    I think the thing that bothered me the most was that one of our commenters was ridiculed for liking this artist. She could have been disagreed with without the outright attack on her opinion and judgment. The feature is meant for us to “sound off” about the artist, not our readers/commenters. Kevin has called this site a community over and over again and we really want our readers to feel that way. I have two friends in particular who read this site who are afraid to comment for fear of ridicule…and this was before seeing this thread. They have really good thoughts on what we post, so I’d love for them to come out of the shadows and share their insights someday instead of just emailing them to me. I’m afraid that such ridicule will stunt such a possibility.

    Furthermore, calling out Kevin’s judgment regarding content on an open forum seems to be poor protocol when you guys are clearly contributers on a high profile blog. Perhaps a private email would have been more appropriate?

    Finally, Kevin’s justification for this feature makes absolute sense. It’s an opportunity to feature artists that may not otherwise get exposure. Perhaps some of these artists won’t deserve the exposure in a professional sense, but that’s for our readers to decide, which is the purpose for the “sound off” label, which was not the only thing Jim chose to sound off about here.

    For the record, again, I can’t express how much I enjoy The9513. You guys have a great community over there and the Verchers do a wonderful job of facilitating that. I just want to echo Kevin in saying that this, hopefully, is not a blog feud, but rather a disagreement. The9513 has always been gracious with their promotion of us on their news round ups, for which we are truly grateful. I’ll continue to read The9513 with intrest and amusement. I wouldn’t be able to stay away if I tried.:)

  28. Chris, I guess it just doesn’t have the same zing to it, does it? I don’t hear Cartman yelling out “blog misunderstanding!”

  29. Sorry for “disappearing,” I’ve been working on articles/interviews and haven’t checked back here in the past 18 hours. My, how much I’ve missed.

    Let me just reiterate something–one of the key reasons I’m supposed to be impressed by this artist is because she’s caught the attention of Shania Twain’s former guitarist. Am I the only one who finds that strange? Am I really the only one who thinks that absolutely ludicrous?

    Nonetheless, I am sorry if I offended anybody. I certainly did not mean to insult or ridicule, and I understand how my comments could be taken that way. I would like to offer my sincere apology to Casey or anyone else who read and was affected.

    As far as questioning Kevin’s judgment. I stand by what I said. I don’t think this is an artist that deserved to be featured. When you publish one of the most popular country music blogs in the world, it doesn’t make sense to just feature whomever sends out a release or lets you give a download away. There are a thousand artists who would jump at the chance to be featured here. A thousand. Danielle isn’t even a blip on the radar.

    Maybe I’m insensitive–Country Universe is a pretty tame place with a positive attitude where people generally get along. There’s something to be said for that. My world is less insular than that. When I write something, be it for The 9513 or a print publication, it better be damn good, because you can bet the shiz will hit the fan if it’s not. Honestly, the shiz starts flying regardless. That’s the nature of what we do. And if you don’t have a tremendously think skin, I would not recommend this line of work.

  30. Jim,

    You’re right that the press release reaches quite a bit for name recognition. In fact, I was amused by the name drop as well. I would argue, however, that most press releases, especially of new artists, tend to do the same thing. Most of the promotional materials that I’ve read drop names as much as possible. I think that’s kind of the point of promotional literature; they want to get our attention. When artists are struggling for recognition, they may not have a lot to put out there as far as things to entice us to give them a chance. While the Shania Twain’s Guitarist mention may have been a stretch, they did include some relevant things, such as one of her songs being featured on a moderately popular television show.

  31. Jim- I think you are still missing the point that your standards of artistic merit can not be applied universally. Musical taste is subjective, and Kevin gave what is a very diverse group of readers a chance to respond and react to an artist. From what I understand, you have a very fine site, with lots of readership, at which you can include or exclude things at your discretion. On other’s sites though, don’t you think its a bit rude to come on and question the judgment of the authors? Especially in the comments section, and not in a personal email? You are continuing to drop sly insults like “pretty tame place”, “my world is less insular”…etc, which remains uncalled for.

  32. “Country Universe is a pretty tame place with a positive attitude where people generally get along. There’s something to be said for that.”

    Indeed, which makes me wonder why I ever felt the need to defend it in the first place.

    Now before I turn into this guy, I’m going to bed.

  33. I’m done discussing this. I’ve made my apology and stated my case, and y’all can continue attacking me and my process if you so see fit.

    But I will say that no, I do not think it is rude to question the judgment of this blog’s authors in an isolated case or in isolated cases. If I were to come on this blog and write, in the comments, about how Kevin and Leeann have no idea what they’re talking about and shouldn’t even HAVE a blog, THAT would be rude.

    But I don’t think that. And I didn’t do that. I have a lot of respect for Kevin. The 9513 links to Kevin, often cites Kevin in its news roundup, and Kevin’s is one of only FOUR publications to make my initial blogroll on my personal music blog.

    When you write an article, you open yourself up to the same criticism that artists open themselves up to when they release new music. Why should we feel any more entitled to emotional protection than the artists we review?

  34. Jim,

    You clearly want a confrontation and I’m not particularly interested. Anybody who reads this comment thread from the beginning will know what issues were raised by Leeann and myself, and why, and they can make their own judgments about whether your characterizations are correct.

  35. Are you freaking kidding me? I want a confrontation?

    I’m not sure how apologizing for statements that may have offended people, and telling everyone that I have a great deal of respect for you and your blog, is confrontational.

  36. Jim,
    You’re slipping in digs in the guise of an apology. This is what an apology looks like:

    Hey, sorry if I offended anybody. Bygones.

    Continuing to slip in the condescending digs that were part of the offense in the first place? Not so much. Of course, saying “I’m done with this”, and continuing to keep the argument going, only adds to the impression that you’re more interested in picking a fight. Or maybe just getting the last word in.

  37. What I really want to know is if the 100 Greatest Women List needs to be re-done to include Danielle Blakey. For the amount to discussion she generated, I think she deserves a spot somewhere in the 80s. ;-)

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