Millennial Dan Edmonds Reinterprets Our Collective Roots

Former frontman of Harlan Pepper, Dan Edmonds will be at Bruce Wine Bar this Friday, March 24th.  He is touring to support his solo album, “Ladies On The Corner”.  He has said that the album is his attempt to move away somewhat from the Americana label attached to Harlan Pepper, due to their “twangy” sound, toward something that is closer “a different side of all the old country and folk music I still love. My hope is that people will come to this album with fresh ears and appreciate it for what it is.”  As an example, he ends the album stretching far back to folk roots with a cover of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene” a song that was a hit for the first pop folk group The Weavers way back in 1950.  His affection for The Grateful Dead and the inclusion of a pedal steel player in his touring band set the scene for what you might call psychedelic folk.  The album has also evoked comparisons to Bob Dylan and “Lou Reed meets Arlo Guthrie”.  Exclaim! In its review of “Ladies On The Corner” commented, “despite its retro quality, Edmonds’ debut solo album is imaginative and fresh, a trip well worth taking.”

Since leaving Harlan Pepper a year and a half ago, Edmonds has produced, among other bands, The Vaudevillian, an authentic jug-band trio that visited Bruce Wine Bar not long ago.  He has a taste for retro sounds, demonstrated by the fact that he recorded this album on an 8-track reel-to-reel with 1” magnetic tape.

His songs, recorded in his home studio in Hamilton, reflect, “ the downtown area, Barton Street in particular,” as he explained to The Hamilton Spectator,  “I’m just trying to write from a different perspective, not from my life but from the people I see. I’m trying to put myself into their shoes. It’s dark, but it’s not my life I’m expressing.”  There are songs about unrequited love, addiction, restlessness and discontent, leavened with his sense of humour.

Dan Edmonds is among a new generation of songwriters who are re-discovering, just as songwriters did in the sixties, the importance of the roots of North American music.

“When I was a teenager I loved punk rock,” he told Biljana of Cut From Steel, “I don’t know what happened. It’s a far trip from punk the old country. I think I realized rock is amazing, then I realized oh, that came from blues and country. So, I listen to rock and realize those guys were listening to this.. and those guys to this… and follow that all the way back. Also check out Alan Lomax’s recordings – he recorded jail songs slave songs and that’s like the root of American music in a lot of ways. You can trace it back super far. There’s so much there. These old blues guys made records in the early 1900’s and were forgotten about until they were old men. In the 60’s these kids realized they were still alive. Funny how music works that in a span of 40 years they weren’t making popular music and then they were re-discovered by a new generation and became famous again.”

There are two shows Friday at Bruce Wine Bar, 7 and 9, and as always reservations are recommended.

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