MEET THE BAND: Daniel Rylander (vocals, guitar), Brian Fackelman (bass), Nathan Allison (drums)
A SELF-TAUGHT MUSICIAN: A drummer for 17 years, local singer-songwriter Daniel Rylander taught himself to play piano and guitar. He can also handle a ukulele. Back in 2012, he co-wrote "A Friend & Brother (Be Thou at Peace)" with his uncle for his brother's funeral. "We performed that song and people enjoyed it, and I recorded it and then made a record," he says. He's been writing songs ever since. In 2013, he issued his full-length debut, Strawberry Skyline, and he followed it in 2015 with The Memoirs of a Poolside Romance. "It's nice to have such a big catalog at this point," he says.
STARTED AS A JOKE: Late last year, Rylander issued "White Elephant," a tune inspired by a white elephant party. "It started out as a gag or joke," he says. "I got this candy dish at the party. It was god-awful. I was the first to pick, so nobody would take it from me. A friend of mine told me to write something silly about it. 'White Elephant' started as a silly song but ended up having more meaning. It was just one of those songs that came to me in the course of 24 hours as opposed to a couple of years."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: Songs such as the somber "For a Moment" have an emo feel to them — think Death Cab for Cutie. His latest single, "Understanding," originally appeared on The Memoirs of a Poolside Romance. Rylander decided to turn it into "a much more amped-up rocking tune. We're using it as a model for the sound we're going for in the new year," he says. "It's a song that means more to me now that I've tweaked it in the studio. It started to take the shape of something more, about not letting bad things define who we are. It's a really important song to me and it's important given all the changes happening in the world right now. It's ultimately about how I want to treat others as I would like to be treated."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: danielrylander.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Daniel & the Best Dressed, Allen Cruz & the Galaxy, Reddy Freddy? and Of Heart & Mind perform at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, at the Empire Concert Club in Akron.