Danielle M & the Glory Junkies put it all together
Appeared originally in Seacoast Scene, 20 September 2018
Playing alone, Danielle Miraglia is a dynamo; all stomp, holler and fiery slide guitar; with a voice like Janis Joplin’s – if the late singer had mixed honeyed tea with her Southern Comfort. Miraglia has built a solid living as a solo performer, leaning toward the blues and earthy folk with a probing world view.
But growing up in Revere, Mass., she’d locked onto J. Geils Band and The Cars; the first album she bought was the Stones’ Tattoo You. Someday, Miraglia was bound to be in a band.
So a few years ago, with the help of husband and fellow musician Tom Bianchi, she enlisted violist and longtime duo partner Laurence Scudder, guitarist Erik White, drummer Chris Anzalone and bass player Jim Larkin. Borrowing the title of her then-current solo album for the band’s name, she unleashed Danielle Miraglia & the Glory Junkies on the world.
The five meshed immediately. “We have this chemistry because everybody is in a band with someone else,” Miraglia said in a recent phone interview. Scudder, White and Larkin are in Spotted Tiger; Anzalone is ubiquitous around Boston, along with a steady gig playing in Roomful of Blues. “I just love these guys, enjoy their company, they’re my friends for a long time, so it’s a no brainer. It’s my favorite thing to do right now.”
Towards the end of last year, the group released its debut album, All My Heroes Are Ghosts. Recorded live in the studio, it’s badass to the bone, blending crunchy power chords, rootsy harmonies, Americana shuffle, swampy blues and straight up rock and roll.
Highlights include the churning rockers “Everybody’s Wrong” and “All on Fire,” both songs lamenting the modern world, and the whimsical “Aim Low.” The latter questions the notion of hard work as its own reward – “don’t set the bar too high” is its refrain – or whether it’s worth it to try hard at all. “I was probably feeling lousy about where I was in life … it was a quick write,” Miraglia said. “I stand behind everything, though.
The title cut is a tribute to the many musical greats lost in recent years, leaving “smoothed out edges” and “a pile of dusty records.” It came to Miraglia shortly after Tom Petty’s death, and it name checks her biggest hero. “Prince is gone, you can burn the stage, he’s the only one they’ll ever make,” she sings, while proclaiming to remain a “grown woman with a child in her heart, reaching anywhere and everywhere to find that spark.”
“Rock Star” is a charming love song dating back to her earliest days with Bianchi; they’ve been together 15 years, married for seven. One line, “you look at me like you understand/you’ve been right in my shoes,” hits at why their union is the only possible dynamic for Miraglia.
“It’s probably easier for a man to be married to a woman who’s not a musician than the other way around,” she said, adding it takes a person “at least in the arts to understand why I’m driving to Pennsylvania to play an hour gig … what the point is for that.”
Miraglia spoke those sentiments as she prepared to play a set in Hershey’s Chocolate Town Square, after a showcase in Stroudsburg, but constant touring isn’t her ideal. “I have a lot of little projects [and] I love to be home doing that stuff, like giving lessons,” she said. “It helps me not have to take a crap gig I don’t want. I know people who are willing to live on the road and I have so much respect for that, but a lot of us want a balance. … having many irons in the fire makes it easier.”
Like most performers, she uses crowdsourcing sites to rally her fans. Lately, Miraglia launched a Patreon page. “I’m still figuring out how it all works,” she said. “I like the idea of putting exclusive stuff and covers that I wouldn’t want to post for the world … it will grow as it goes along. So far all the people on there are generally good supporters. They’re willing to be patient with me while I figure out what I’m putting up there, and why.”