Daniel Ho,
Coolest Drop of Rain
(self-produced, 2002)

Daniel Ho is a secret waiting to be discovered: a dynamic multi-instrumentalist with an expressive voice and a creative songwriting ability. Put all these elements together and you wind up with a powerful album like Coolest Drop of Rain.

He plays guitar and ukulele on the dozen tracks, along with some bass and drums. His playing is always inventive, yet he never takes away from the focus of the songs. At times, he relies on an unobtrusive guitar accompaniment, sparsely picking the notes that complement the melodies perfectly; but then, he fills out the sound as he pushes a bluesy guitar riff with rhythm (Dean Taba on bass and Randy Drake on drums) and vocal (Sienna Lee and Denise Taijin of Tyler Blue as well as himself, double tracking) accompaniment.

A high tenor, his wistful voice is filled with emotion -- desire, disappointment, despair and joy. He always captures the essence of the lyrics and delivers them in a natural, almost conversational manner. You feel you are listening to an old friend pouring his heart out over a cup of coffee.

This intimate approach is ideal for the material. Ho co-wrote all the songs -- six with Hope Sato, five with Faith Rivera and one with Corwin Hee. Each tells an absorbing story set on a beautiful melody. His characters "talk" naturally, as they explain their innermost thoughts: "I thought a hand was to be held/you think a hand is to be played/now this hand is writing down what I really want to say" ("Dear Jane" by Ho and Sato).

Many of Ho's songs have been recorded by some of the top musicians in Hawaii, where he is regarded as a distinguished performer, musician and songwriter. Elsewhere, he is probably best known for his work as keyboard player for Peabo Bryson. As he is heard by a wider audience, Ho will surely take his rightful place alongside other performers and writers like Carol King, Paul McCartney and Guy Clark.

by Jamie O'Brien
3 December 2005

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