Cindy Daley has been around the greater-Boston music scene since the 1970s. She said she’s lasted as long as she has because she really the loves music. She took a little time off in the 1990s to become a nurse. Today, she’s the lead singer of her Cindy Daley Band which plays out in South Shore, North Shore, and Rhode Island.
Daley has had a long career since she started out in the 1970s and her musical path has taken many different directions. Daily started out at age 16 with a band called Frankie Vaughn and the Show Downers. “It was a show band. I was still in school,” she said. “I used to hang around downtown Boston, and I used to go to the Sugar Shack under age, and study the singers. I used to see people like Patti Labelle and the Bluebells, and The Chairman Of The Board and the Delfonics. I used to just sit in awe. They were wonderful.”
Later on, she sang in the first lineup of Calamity Jane before moving onto a band called Ruby. During a night with Ruby at Lowell’s Three Copper Men, some guy came up to her and made her an offer. He said she had a great voice and he had asked if she would be interested in doing some work with him. He offered her $65 a week, which was good money back then. The man turned out to be Tom Scholz and the band was called Mother’s Milk. Daley said the songs she was working on with Scholz were essentially the same songs Scholz recorded with Brad Delp when Delp and Scholz formed Boston.
Daley played in prominent bands like Lovelace that opened The Rat and even a band that called itself Fort Mudge Memorial Dump. She formed the bluesy, rootsie Cindy Daley band back in 2003, but up until then she was primarily a rock singer.
She went blues for the same reason many musicians do. “It’s the roots of everything. I’m a very soulful singer,” she said. “I have been throughout my whole career. So, it makes sense. It’s a fine line, you know. My idea is to sing blues with an edge to it, like in the 60s. I love the early blues things that Zeppelin did and The Rolling Stones did. They took old blues and just put an edge to it. It worked great that way.”
Throughout Daley’s career, fans have often compared her to Janis Joplin. “I’m flattered, of course. People are always saying you sound like Janis Joplin,” she said. But I do have, I hope, a very full range, and I can sing very high. I have a very high, clear voice. So I clip in and out. I can sing it real raspy, but then I can do a real high….some people even say almost operatic clip to my voice. I think that sets me apart a bit.”
Daley grew up listening to Laura Nyro who wrote most of the songs for the Fifth Dimension. Genya Raven, singer for a band called Ten Wheel Drive was another favorite. And, of course, she listened to her beloved Janis Joplin, a lot. From those early favorites to learning breathing techniques later, Daley has had a lot of music education, but she’s mostly self-taught.
“I’ve been listening to music since I was four years old, and singing along to the radio, inflections, how people interpret songs,” she said. “I sing from my diaphram. I don’t sing from my throat. The reason that I have such a huge range is because I know how to breathe. I learned how to do that a long time ago. I think people’s passion and how they deliver a tune is also how I feel that I learned from them. Paul Rogers is a great influence of mine.” When asked what inspires her most about Paul Rodgers, she said, “His soul.” She feels rock and roll singers get overlooked for their soulfulness because there is so much focus on blues and R&B as the headquarters for soul.
“People mistake; they think everybody has to be Muddy Waters or Buddy Guy. I don’t take anything away,” she said. “I think those guys are great. But there are a lot of people around that are doing unbelievable stuff out of rock bands that are incredibly passionate as blues-based too.”
Instant gratification is what she Daley likes most about being in front of an audience. She often goes out into the audience with her microphone and gets her crowd motivated. “I love what I do. I love that people love what I do,” she said. “I love that they love it, and you get that immediately when you play live. When you can get people to sing with you, dance with you. That’s a great feeling that you can bring such happiness to people, by doing what you love.”
Audience participation is key to Daley. “I try to do songs that encourage people to join in with me. I let them sing with me or sing backup. I go out with the microphone onto the dance floor. They love it. People love being a part of it. They’re there because they want to be. They’re there because they want to have a good time. Instead of having a separation of the band is there and the audience is there, how cool is that?”
The Cindy Daley Band is made up of guitarist Silvertone Steve, bass player John Allouise, and drummer Joe Bellomo. Daley has a good rapport with them off stage and on. “They’re all wonderful human beings. Joe, I’ve been playing with for the seven years I’ve been in The Cindy Daley Band,” she said. John Allousie I played with 30 years ago and reconnected with him. He’s a wonderful human being and a killer bass player. And Silvertone I only started playing with about four years ago. Silvertone is unique in that he plays left handed slide like no one I’ve ever seen.”
Daley has another project called Gypsy Thieves, an all original hard rock four-piece in which she is writing songs with the guitarist. She found them on Craigslist. This new band of hers has played two gigs, including one well received one called The New Wave in New Bedford. They’ll be back there in September. Daley would also like to take Gypsy Thieve into the Middle East in Cambridge, if she can. Daley has been writing songs off and on since the late 1980s in bands named The Method and The Satellites. The Satellites made it into the WBCN Rumble and she was interviewed by BCN’s DJ Oedipus.
Gypsy Thieves allows Daley to cover material she cannot cover with her Cindy Daley Band. “Because it’s original, it’s a totally different style,” she said. “How cool is that to be able to do both worlds. I love music. I don’t care what kind it is. I can go and sing a straight show tune with a piano bar if I wanted to, but I don’t. And that’s very cool to, you know what I mean, and be a lounge lizard.” Giggles.
Daley meets up with Berklee educated musicians at Slades in Boston for some improv work. She also recorded “Down So Low “ with only Satch Romano, her promoter, backing her on harmonica. The song has been played on Carter Allan’s Sunday Morning Blues radio show on WZLX. She has scheduled a recording session with Jon Butcher to record Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe.”
There is a video of Daley singing “I’d Rather Go Blind” at Smokin’ Joe’s in Brighton. She just happened to be there visiting, and she was invited up to sing. She turns in a powerful performance at the microphone. The document, available on her Facebook page, shows Daley in all her glory as she‘s backed by musicians Evan Goodrow and Alizon Lissance. “I’m a passionate singer,” she said. “I love what I do and I’m grateful to still be doing it.”