Donal Hinely | Dark Horse Days

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Dark Horse Days

by Donal Hinely

Compelling, literate, and melodically satisfying Americana infused with elements of acoustic folk, country, and pop; reminiscent of early Robyn Hitchcock, Jackson Browne, and Nick Lowe.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Damaged Goods
5:26 $0.99
2. Barn Wood
2:57 $0.99
3. From the Day
3:07 $0.99
4. If
3:15 $0.99
5. When I Burn
2:57 $0.99
6. I Once Knew a Man
3:34 $0.99
7. Hey Sunshine
2:53 $0.99
8. Tell Her
2:37 $0.99
9. I've Got a Feeling
2:18 $0.99
10. Old Man Winter
3:27 $0.99
11. Dislocated
3:15 $0.99
12. Prairie Lullaby (Song for Steven Fromholz)
2:48 $0.99
13. Ain't Nobody
4:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
With echoes of Nick Lowe, Steve Earle, and Robyn Hitchcock, DARK HORSE DAYS was recorded at Inglehood Studios in East Nashville. Produced by Cowboy Keith Thompson, the Scuffletown/ATOM collaboration features 13 new songs and draws on a wide range of influences, infusing literate, compelling, and melodically satisfying songs with elements of folk, roots, country, and pop. Emerging from a period of personal grief and uncertainty in which Hinely lost both parents to illness, the album is more a reflection of triumph and redemption than defeat or resignation. In the hands of a stellar band of studio veterans featuring Joe McMahan (k.d. lang), James “Haggs” Haggerty (Josh Rouse), Micah Hulscher (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris) and Martin Lynds (Chuck Mead), Hinely’s meditations on modern life, love, loss, and alienation are transformed into 3 minute celebrations of the human spirit.

A special note about DARK HORSE DAYS from Donal Hinely:

In the past 3 1/2 years, I said goodbye to both of my parents. The biggest fans I will ever have, their love and support was unconditional and their influence on my life immeasurable. My father loved the horse races and had an affinity for the long shot. I too am drawn to the idea that despite a stacked deck and long odds, life occasionally affords an unexpected outcome. There is something deeply satisfying when conventional wisdom takes a slap in the face. Maybe Tom Petty said it best: Even the losers get lucky sometimes.
These songs are my little underdogs. They're scruffy and rough around the edges. I never gave them much of a chance, yet here they are, defiant in the face of personal chaos and uncertainty. I'm glad they broke through. I'm proud of them. I hope you like them, too.

--Donal Hinely, 11/04/15


Thanks to all who played a part in this production: Scott Kinnison at ATOM Records, Joe McMahan, James "Hags" Haggerty, Martin Lynds, Micah Hulscher, David Henry, Mavis Turner, Drea Rhenee Merritt, Alexis Saski, Laura Mayo, Chad Brown, Alex McCollough, Curt Perkins, and Jared Manzo.

A very special thanks to Cowboy Keith Thompson at inglehood Records. I am forever grateful for your talent, integrity, and generosity. Thanks for taking care of these songs like they were your own.

A toast to you, Valeri Alexander. I'm a better person for having known you. I hope you can hear these songs where you are.

Finally, a humble thanks to every soul who ever put a tip in my jar, bought a CD, or just listened to a song. There are too many to thank here. Just know that your patronage not only buoys the spirit but it keeps this ship afloat.

Dedicated to Reginald and Beverley Hinely.


Donal Hinely/Dark Horse Days

Donal Hinely--acoustic guitar, vocals
Joe McMahan--electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin
James "Hags" Haggerty--acoustic and upright bass, backing vocals
Martin Lynds--drums and percussion, backing vocals
Micah Hulscher--keyboards, accordion
David Henry--cello and violin
Mavis Turner--trumpet
Drea Rhenee Merritt--backing vocals
Alexis Saski--backing vocals
Laura Mayo--backing vocals
Cowboy Keith Thompson--backing vocals

Produced and recorded by Cowboy Keith Thompson at inglehood Studios, East Nashville.
Mixed by Cowboy Keith Thompson except "From the Day" and "When I Burn", mixed by Chad Brown.
Mastered by Alex McCollough at Yes Master. Photography Jared Manzo. Cover photograph by John Lok / Seattle Times.

All songs by Donal Hinely, Scuffletown Music (ASCAP)


"vivid storytelling lyrics peppered with pieces of reality that make each song memorable"
--Paste Magazine

"just brilliant...has the rare ability to completely engross the listener and transport him or her to another place and time."
--Dave Higgs, host of NPR's Bluegrass Breakdown

“Few artists could cover such a broad range so well... placing Hinely in a group as talented as Steve Earle, John Prine or
Hinely's musical hero Nick Lowe”

"An exquisite storyteller...picture perfect roots rock."
--Pop Matters Magazine

Hinely has a keen sense of humor and a good sense
of melody, crafting songs that touch
unexpected human depths”
--Joe Sixpack’s Guide to Country Music

"A great folk/Americana album...'Shock and Awe' is
the best political song I've heard all year."
--Greg Grant, Online Folk Festival

"much better than anything to come from mainstream
Nashville since the Garth Brooks,
anti-Hank crowd took over"
--Indie Music

"a fine eye for the truths of the ordinary and the shadowy sides of life"
--Roots66 Magazine

"Cut from the same cloth as great songwriters such as
Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, and Robert Earl Keen,
he might just be the next big thing."
--Cincinnati Enquirer

"a terrific, rootsy slab of Americana"
--Santa Monica Mirror

"a genuine master"
--Dagger Magazine

"sharply written Americana"
--Choice Cuts

"a gifted singer/songwriter"
--Twang-Tone Magazine

"one of the premier Americana artists today"
--Planet Country

"what really impresses is Hinely's songwriting which
is technically very proficient with elegant lyrics
fitting into well-constructed musical frameworks."
--Country Music People

"reminiscent of the irony of Loudon Wainwright III"
--Lone Star Time

"I was completely blown away by this record."
--Catherine Tully, Indie-Music

"A voice bristling with personality reminiscent
of the best Texas singers and
even Van Morrison...a new classic"
--Carlo Lancini, Roots Highway

"Somebody was thinking outside of the box during this recording session!"
--Stephen Hug, Americana Roots

"Compelling and poignant...a brilliant winner of a recording."
--Chris Darling,
"Us Folk"/WMPG-FM

"To call him literate would be an understatement...
Hinely's writing ability earns him a place alongside other Texas
luminaries such as Earle, Van Zandt and Keen."
--Don Grant, Freight Train Boogie

"A song like "Giants" is one many of us will be humming to
ourselves as we speak up, speak out and march
towards voting booths in 2006 and 2008
to turn America around."
--Tony Peyser,

"One of the best albums I've heard this year...I can't recommend it highly enough to lovers of pure, organic music"
--Peter Ashton, Playing Out
Loud, UK

"This Texas songwriter isn't afraid to
use a guitar to get his message across...
quality song craft."
--Paste Magazine

“A lyrical wordsmith who makes every song a memorable quote”
--Real Sound

“versatile and of the most interesting songwriters on the
Americana scene”
--Folk World Magazine



to write a review

Emma Brooke

Donal Hinely's New Album "Dark Horse Days"
At last! Another chest of treasures from Donal Hinely! It’s been too long. Dark Horse Days makes it clear what Hinely’s been busy with since his last Americana classic "Famous Rocket Cage". Dedicated to his recently passed parents, the album shows Hinely to be part of that big demographic that is easing out of this world the loved ones who brought them in. That challenge, along with the departure of artistic mentors like the late Steve Fromholz, has brought Hinely’s always intelligent writing to an even higher level of perception. Aware of what we lose, but even more eloquent about what we gain with the passage into middle age, Hinely has us singing amen with the chorus in “Old Man Winter” and nodding in rhythmic agreement in “Dislocated.”. He’s helping us face the future we fear with a new beautiful form, somewhere between a ballad and a chant, in “I Once Knew a Man.” Dark Horse Days also has plenty of classic Hinely numbers, with smart and funny lyrics and a reliable knack for the hook, but with a ramped-up production level and a rich, complex texture punctuated by horns, organ, and chorus. Hinely can always be counted on to give us songs we will sing and a rhythm we can dance to, whether classic rock or Texas two-step, and he doesn’t let us down here, even though he sets us to thinking about the biggest questions of life and death. Welcome back Donal! We missed and needed you!

Nicki Smith

Dark Horses, Toe Tappers, and Tear Jerkers
Dark Horse Days fires on all cylinders, but the utter genius that is Donal Hinely can be found in his lyrics. Words strung together so sublimely, they compel us to yearn, to lament, to reminisce, to smile, and perhaps to find some peace. They evoke memories, stoke our inner fires, propel us from our chair, and demand that we FEEL -- doesn't matter that our hearts are tender and our knees arthritic. Brilliant lyrics set to music that is also compelling, and with the bonus of top-notch production, Dark Horse Days is a triumph. Stop whatever meaningless task you're doing, and download this album. Do it now. You won't regret it.