Entries in Dan Blakeslee (3)

Thursday
Jul272017

Dan Blakeslee - Album review / Song premiere: "A Golden Turn"

Ring Dan Blakeslee and you’ll hit a friendly greeting of Dan singing and playing his guitar, followed by a full mailbox. Maybe this artful dodge is a relic from Dan’s time more than a decade ago in Portsmouth, N.H., when he owed so much artwork to folks around town that he took to walking the alleys to avoid disappointed customers. This time in his life is the impetus for the title of Blakeslee’s latest album, The Alley Walker, and like with most talented artists, he rewards your patience.

Piecing together tunes and stories from as far back as 2005, the album was a long time in the making, but one well worth the time.

“I planned to make it seven years ago,” Blakeslee says via phone when we connect. “I ended up making two others in between. I knew I wanted The Alley Walker to be a little more explosive, take a few more risks.”

Those explosive risks are dutifully explored and artfully executed with the help of producer Chris Chase and the backing talents of the Callabash Club. Longtime Blakeslee listeners will recognize the tunes, but the songs come alive on the record, capturing the band’s propulsive energetic live sound and giving life to Blakeslee’s vivid storytelling.

The songs take seed from Dan’s wanderings, with references to his time in Somerville (“The Somerville Line”), New Hampshire (“Pride of the Picataqua”), and the road (“Lone Star”, written in New Orleans). The album’s title track closes the album, a fitting capstone to complete the album’s journey. But like a record on repeat, Blakeslee recently found himself in a similar mental state as when he first wrote “The Alley Walker” more than 11 years ago. In a scramble to pay for the studio time, Blakeslee again took on more and more art projects, leading to an eerily similar mindset as to his first writing and lending a prescient tone to his work in the studio.

The album now complete, Dan Blakeslee and the Callabash Club no longer need to hide and shirk in alleys. In fact, they sound ready for the spotlight.

We are honored to be the first to share “A Golden Turn” from "The Alley Walker". In Dan's words:

"I have been playing music for over two decades and have known both triumph and struggle alike. I wrote "A Golden Turn" in hopes of seeking a little more balance to finally get to a more fruitful place in my career. Every day I am so grateful to be doing music and art for a living... it's not an easy road but I wouldn't want it any other way!"

 

 

 

Words // Brian Hodge

Tuesday
May082012

Kitchen Sessions // Dan Blakeslee - "Wizard Nor A King"

Words // Caroline McDonald

In Greek mythology, the iconic head of Medusa was placed on Athena’s shield to serve as a guardian. Dan Blakeslee’s guitar, with its fiery, Medusa-esque pick guard and design, is just as fearsome and determined in his Kitchen Session video, “Wizard Nor a King.” Before getting started, Dan explained that the song is about “doing what you love and never giving up.” He lives his own words as both a musician and a talented visual artist. The energy he exudes in the Kitchen Session video catches his message and inspires the creative soul.

Monday
Mar052012

Homegrown: Dan Blakeslee, Coyote Kolb, and Caleb Groh

Words // Scott Pingeton

When it comes to Boston bands, I often find myself caught between two extremes.  On one hand, I want to root for the local guys.  The idea of finding your new favorite band sweating it out in the local bars is a romantic dream, but visions of the Cavern Club can cloud one's judgement.  On the other hand, I have no interest in pandering to the local scene.  I seek out the best music period, regardless of geography - and that often means paying less attention to Boston than to Seattle, Nashville and New York. Every once in a while I need to remind myself that there is a lot of great music being made in Boston.  Here are three artists you need to know:

Dan Blakeslee
Dan Blakeslee is one of Boston's most promising songwriters - spinning literate songs that feature the perfect mix of folky grit and soulful swoon. Tatnic Tales is a record I'm ashamed to say I overlooked in 2011, but I've made time for it in 2012 and I encourage you to do the same.  "Lazy Eyed Girl" is a beautiful piano and fiddle folk jam - perfect for those nights when the party is winding down, but you're not ready to leave.  (website)

Dan Blakeslee- Lazy Eyed Girl

 

 

 

Coyote Kolb
Coyote Kolb is a band that I've been aware of for a while, but only fell in love with recently.  Hearing their new record United State for the first time, I can't help but feel like I've made a big, big mistake by not getting on board sooner.  Country, folk and blues meld into something magical and mysterious - the musical equivalent of a dark desert highway, ominous clouds fast approaching.  (website)

 

Caleb Groh
I was vaguely aware of Caleb Groh's Happiest Lion project - which, fairly or unfairly, I sort of considered to be Sufjan Stevens-lite.  I was intrigued and excited by the rootsy new direction on last years' Down, Dakota! EP - it's hard to go wrong with simple folk songs and banjo.  "Hapless Dreamer" is from his upcoming LP Bottomless Coffee and it suggests yet another (exciting) new direction - melodic, melancholy indie-folk.  (website)