As indie-folk singer-songwriter Daniel Gum readies his debut album, “Thirteen,” we’re unveiling its second single today — a quintessential song for the start of a pensive autumn.
“In the Worst Ways” begins with Gum recounting an adolescent memory, singing delicately over an acoustic guitar and the dusky swells of pedal steel.
“It starts with the very true story of my high school girlfriend driving me down to a lake by her house, and suggesting we jump in, despite the building thunderstorm overhead,” he said. “In both my fear of the lightning and of taking a risk, I awkwardly declined.”
He reflects on his feelings of regret and hesitation as the song builds, and shifts it to a more auspicious present.
“At the end, I used the imagery of sitting down by the lake to allude to where I am now, hoping for the opportunity that I had taken for granted,” he said. “It’s part of the reason this song made the album, being able to connect a story of myself as a boy to the patterns I seem to still be stuck in and haunted by.”
Gum has an obvious knack for turning his pain into something elegant, drifting from cautious sparseness to subdued urgency — with a folk backbeat, twinkling pedal steel and reverb-drenched undertones. It’s reminiscent of Elliott Smith, whose music Gum found a close kinship with.
“On this track, and the whole album, I was inspired by Elliott Smith’s ability to weave multiple meanings together and by the idea of writing songs like a memoir,” he said.
Here’s The Bridge’s exclusive premiere of “In the Worst Ways,” by Daniel Gum:
Daniel Gum's upcoming debut album, "Thirteen," will be dropping on CD, cassette and digital formats via Manor Records on Oct. 30.