Tag Archives: Rob Carli

Danny Michel Brings School Night Mondays To Crow

by Bill Monahan

Monday is the one night in the week when live music doesn’t happen.  When Danny Michel decided to rectify that six years ago at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto he was bucking conventional wisdom.

“Everybody said I was crazy,” he says, “nobody will come on a Monday.  It turned out to be the opposite.  People loved that there was something happening on a Monday.  But it was early so they could be home by around 9:30.  The other thing is that there was no competition.”

The first series he did at the Dakota sold out for eighteen weeks in a row.  He always invites friends to join him and his band.  The Dakota series included a who’s who of artists, including Sarah Harmer, Jim Cuddy, Ed Robertson, Tom Cochrane, Amelia Curran, and Royal Wood among others.

“It’s created for no other reason than for musicians, friends, to get together to play and enjoy it.  The rest of our lives is all stressful gigs that are about your career and trying to sell tickets.  I kind of missed that whole thing about getting together just to play for no reason.”

Danny Michel has a habit of thinking outside the box with his musical projects.  The empathetic nature of his songs mirrors a career that follows his heart.

Heartwood Presents An Intimate Evening With Danny Michel

This Thursday Danny Michel will be playing at Heartwood Concert Hall in Owen Sound.  He’s touring to promote his new album, “Khlebnikov”, a recording that is special in many ways, the least of which is that it may be the most northern album ever recorded.

Danny was invited by astronaut Chris Hadfield who invited him to join Generator Arctic, an expedition in the Arctic Ocean aboard the Russian ice-breaker Kapitan Khlebnikov with scientists, photographers, writers, videographers.

In an interview with Tom Power on CBC Radio’s Q The Music, he explained, “The goal was for all of us to go up there, experience the arctic and to come back and share it with the rest of the world.”  His job was to write a song about it.  “I can write more than one song in eighteen days,” he said, so, ensconced in his tiny cabin, he created an entire album’s worth of material, recruiting as session musicians Colonel Hadfield and the vessel’s dishwasher.  He brought the recordings back to civilization with him and, collaborating with multiple award winning composer Rob Carli, created this singular album.

Joseph Mathieu of Exclaim! calls it “a pensive album that illustrates a nautical and northern life. It’s all majestic scenery with well-oiled machinery at the forefront, with a story of picturesque fishing villages, ancient graves of explorers and even the dreams of the Russian crew.”

Danny told Aaron Tang of Killbeat Music, “One evening at 4:00am I woke to massive muffled booms and thuds of the Khlebnikov lurching through the Arctic ice,” recalls Danny. ”Too curious to sleep I put on all of my gear and went outside to see what was happening. There alone, at the bow I witnessed one of the most glorious moments of my life. Under an endless sky and midnight sun, I watched pieces of ice the size of tennis courts break, flip, and bounce around like bowling pins under the hull of the mighty Khlebnikov. Later that day I wrote “24,000 Horses”

Danny Michel was a natural choice to capture this expedition in song.  His musical output has always reflected his love of the planet.  He describes himself as “an environmentalist, pacifist, romanticist and space enthusiast.”  In 2011, he created “The Ocean Academy Fund”, helping raise scholarships for the Caye Caulker Community School, a small non-profit community high school in Belize. To date, he’s raised over $70,000.00 for the school and volunteers there.

He is also a fireball of creative energy who expresses himself in a variety of projects that bring together musical friends.

He created and single-handedly produces  “Dan’s Space Van” ,a web-series that takes place in an original customized 1978 GMC Vadura (airbrushed in a Star Trek theme), featuring interesting people and musical guests who perform in the van’s diamond quilted, crushed red velvet interior.

He also created a special series at Toronto’s Roots Rock mecca, The Dakota Tavern, that he calls “School Night Mondays”.  He’s given life to the slowest night of the week for any venue with a “relaxed early show for no other reason than friends playing music”.  It’s been sold out for eighteen weeks in a row, with guests that have included Sarah Harmer, Jim Cuddy, Col. Chris Hadfield, Ed Robertson, Tom Cochrane, Royal Wood, Whitehorse, and more.

Danny Michel’s music is a gift, an art and a joyful celebration of life, sure to brighten up a cold Owen Sound winter’s night this Thursday.  Doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8:30.  Most tickets, priced at $25, are available on line, with a limited number of hard copy tickets available at Heartwood Home, just below the venue.

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