Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 27, 2012

Going blue

Romanello’s bluegrass roots to be evident in upcoming album

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND —  It’s a busy week for singer-songwriter Dana Romanello.

The Lucasville native who now lives and works in the music business in Nashville will be at the International Bluegrass Music Association conference this week, returning to the area to perform at the South Shore Quilt Show on Saturday and ending the evening with a performance at 8 p.m. Callihan’s American Pub and Grill Saturday night.

She’s also released a single and video that she describes as straight-ahead, mainstream country.

“The single is a fun song called ‘It’s a Summer Thing’ and it was released in July,” she said. “It was featured on the country network on TV. That was really cool.”

The single follows the release of her debut, self-titled album in 2008, which received positive reviews and comparisons to June Carter and Dolly Parton.

Citing influences such as Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire, New Grass Revival, the Dixie Chicks and Elvis, she says her father, mandolin player Joe Romanello, encouraged her interest in music. Her first performance at 3 was singing “Blue Moon of Kentucky” with a band made up of mainly family members.

Performances continued with River Cities Dance Company at Tammy Jo’s Studio in Greenup. As a music student at Marshall University, she also was a cheerleader and participated in Huntington Outdoor Theater, the school chorus and Marshall University Dance Theater.

After graduation, she moved to Nashville and lived with a friend, working at Guitar Center and doing choreography to earn a living until she landed a radio job and also a spot on the cheerleading squad for the Tennessee Titans, all the while growing her songwriting skills.

Romanello has gotten a significant amount of attention recently, having been featured in Country Weekly magazine.

“I work for a media network in radio syndication and (the story) was highlighting my job here on Music Row and doing music outside the office,” she said.

She’s working on her next album which will be more bluegrass than ever.

“It’s going to be in the vein of Allison Krauss but a little sassier,” she said, noting she calls her genre “sassy grassy” and admires the attitude of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and the Dixie Chicks.  “My songs are contemporary with bluegrass instrumentation.”

Romanello said she hopes her music will speak to women who might not find a lot they can relate to in traditional bluegrass.

“I hope to give them a subtle introduction to bluegrass,” she said. A release date has not been set but she said many songs on the album will be her own work but said with so many good songwriters in Nashville, might include the work of others, too.

Meanwhile, Romanello said she enjoys her work in the music business and sees everything she does as progress toward the goal.

“I think it’s important that you have your big, lofty pipedreams for yourself, but you also have to set up smaller goals for yourself,” she said. “You can see glimpses of things you can achieve.”

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.