Daniel Folmer Strikes a Balance With New Album Brown and Blue

"My aunt once told me the cure to writer's block is to put yourself in an incredibly precarious situation and then write about it," says Denton singer-songwriter Daniel Folmer at J&Js. "Then, people ask me if I put myself in those precarious situations on purpose just to give me something to write about. And the answer is, I don't know."

It's a sunny but mild afternoon, and Folmer is sitting at a patio table under a shade tree, alternately sipping from a flask and a jumbo-sized mug of Modelo. We're discussing his latest album, Brown and Blue, and how it is an extension of the personal issues surrounding his 2010 album, Danny Rush & the Designated Drivers.

Brown and Blue comes as a result of a tumultuous time in Folmer's life, where he made the transition from Denton to Canyon Lake, from despair to peace. Working on a horse ranch, Folmer found himself listening to the appropriate soundtrack: country music. That sound permeated his first DDs release, and plays a role, albeit smaller, in Brown and Blue.

"In the beginning it's more of a typical DDs sound, more of a straightforward country thing, folk, blues, whatever you want to call it," Folmer says. "As the record wears on, it gets more into the pop stuff." It's a transition he admits reflects his personal situation.

"It's an arc, for sure."

If you're familiar with Folmer's story, you know this back and forth isn't new. During our interview, there were multiple times where he started questioning me. A guiding force seems to be something Folmer needs, which his current bandmates provide.

"The joke with The Designated Drivers was that I would always drink up the bar tab and someone would have to drive me home," Folmer says with a laugh. "But I've gathered up musicians who could work with me on a consistent basis [musically]. ... We know what each other's going to do."

That comfort with his fellow musicians, along with a stable romantic relationship, is already starting to affect Folmer's music. He has his next album written, which he hints will harken back to his older, pop-oriented sound. It will also be a true Daniel Folmer record, putting to rest his darker alter ego, Danny Rush. Well, at least until the next mood change.

What doesn't change is Folmer's need to channel his experiences. Regardless of his name or backing musicians, the desire never wavers.

"I don't know what I would do without being able to write songs," he confesses. "I just have to do it."

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Andy Odom