Casting your head to the clouds is not as dangerous as some will tell you…as long as someone is around to catch you when you fall.
For his senior thesis project at Rutgers University, Daniel Smith handed in what became Danielson Famile's album A Prayer for Every Hour; he got an A. The album was released on Tooth & Nail Records in 1995. It features Smith backed by his siblings, who range in age from 12 to their early twenties. Tell Another Joke at the Ol' Choppin' Block, produced by Kramer (Galaxie 500, Low, Palace Brothers), followed in 1997. In 1998 Smith launched Tri-Danielson to convey his three distinct musical directions: solo, with his family, and a more rock-based incarnation called Danielsonship. Tri-Danielson released Alpha in 1998 and followed in 1999 with Omega. Danielson Famile is unmistakably a Christian band, but in the same way that Flannery O'Connor was a Christian writer. They reject the conventional set of Christian symbols and subject matter, while at the heart of every song, underneath the weirdness, is a perfectly orthodox Christian message; and Smith's falsetto vocals are downright shocking, an effective tool in cutting through the barriers to convey these messages. No contemporary Christian radio station in its right mind would ever play Danielson; they're just too out there. They sound like Captain Beefheart's Magic Band joined by the Partridge Family at some roadside revival along the Jersey Turnpike -- definitely an acquired taste. In 2001, they signed to Secretly Canadian, ditching the overtly Christian Tooth & Nail label -- as well as longtime producer Kramer -- to release Fetch the Compass Kids. 2004 saw the release of Brother: Son, a Daniel Smith-produced project released under the moniker Br. Danielson. In 2006, Smith returned to the original Danielson moniker, employing every collaborator thus far in the Famile history. The resulting Ships arrived in 2006.