Blues­man blow-in

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.

Albany Advertiser - - AGENDA -

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.

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