Albany Blues Club will be treated to a special visit from Fremantle blues artist Dan Howls this weekend. Shannon Smith spoke to Howls about his take on the genre.
To someone who hasn’t heard you before, how would you describe yourself, as a musician?
Independent, a bit of a troubadour, I move around a lot. Can’t sit still very long. Love playing music and anything else feels like dullness in comparison.
Tell me about how you settled on blues.
I’ve always loved the rawness of blues and how it makes you feel but I also want to do something new and not just play your standard blues-type stuff. Everything I’ve listened to and loved has inspired it. I think being self-taught on the guitar has influenced it also in the way that when I started writing I couldn’t play all that well and our music has evolved with me picking up more and more guitar skills. In terms of artists that influenced me, Tom Waits of course, The Black Keys, Gary Clarke Jr and then some good Aussie stuff too — Abbe May, C.W. Stoneking and Steve Smyth.
You’ve just released your LP, A Dime a Dozen. What is it like?
We’ve just released a seven-track LP (go have a listen on spotify). It’s a combination of diverse blues-influenced tracks but actually has a lot of other elements in it too. It is dark and raw and sometimes out of time but that’s kind of what we wanted. An extremely honest first album. Our track, The Prince, off that album won blues song of the year for WA back in 2017.
You’re the act for the blues club performance. How does it feel to be asked to share your take on blues with lovers of the genre?
Fantastic. Unbelievable, sometimes. We’ve only been at this for a couple of years and it seems like it just keeps snowballing. We get asked to play all around Australia and have played some amazing festivals and showcases. It feels like yesterday that I was playing in some dingy little bar with one or two people playing pool or shouting while I played.
What can we expect at your show?
Energy. Electric guitar. Our wild keys player being a character. Voices. Big voices. Fun. Dancing. Beers. More electric guitars.
Tell me about the recent grant you were going for.
Otherside Brewing Co offered to match $2500 for an east coast tour to the first three bands that raised it on a Go Fund Me/Pozible campaign. We got there in three days. Very exciting. The cost for touring to the east coast is so ridiculously expensive that this $5000 will give us a huge leg-up and mean we can focus on drawing big crowds and engaging with new audiences and not have to worry about budgets so much. Dan Howls will play at the Albany Blues Club event at Six Degrees on Saturday, December 8 at 8pm. Entry is $10.
Fremantle blues artist Dan Howls is heading to Albany.