I recently came to a realization while at the Newport Folk Festival...I am pretty sure that Dan Blakeslee knows EVERYONE and subsequently, everyone loves Dan. A charming and likeable character onstage and off, Dan has been an integral part of the music community here in Boston and the greater Northeast for years. Whether you have caught him playing on the train platform at Park Street, seen one of his incredible original artwork posters hanging for a show, or just witnessed him smiling and dancing to music at one of his favorite artists shows, two things are for sure...his joy is infectious and his talent remarkable. This guy just plain brings a smile to my face every time I see him and he makes me feel better about pretty much everything. With his octopus-pickguard-guitar in tow, he will serenade you a tune and leave a certain warmth in your heart. In a world filled with talented musicians, its nice to see that some of those talented folks still remain genuine and kind hearted. Mr. Blakeslee is one of those folks.
Dan took a few to answer a couple questions for this week's Red Line Scene Feature. Here it goes...
1) What projects are you currently working on?
Dan: I have been recording a full length album called "Owed To The Tanglin' Wind" at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI. We are getting close to the mixing stage! I am honored my friends from the Low Anthem are engineering and performing on the album... a real dream come true for me... they are such a genuine and talented bunch!
2) Why do we have the best music scene? (if you don’t think we do, what do you love about the scene here in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville)
Dan: I think the Somerville/Cambridge/Boston music scene is incredible! So much great music 7 nights a week... I listen to a pretty wide spectrum of music, not stuck on any one certain genre and the scene really has something for everyone. If you are a musician the local comrades are one big, strange... happy family... it's so nice feeling support from one another.
3) Favorite OR least favorite/most embarrassing moment on stage from your career?
Dan: I was on stage playing a sentimental number when I drooled... yes... drooled. I even pointed it out to the audience that I did it when my brother sitting in the front row said " It's better to be secretive, than secrete-ive!"
4) If you could collaborate with anyone from the area (general New England) who would it be?
Dan: That is hard to say... there are dozens really.
5) 3 records that shaped you when you first started playing and 3 records that best represent who you are now/are listening to now?
Dan: When I first started the albums that got continuous play would be Johnny Cash "Live at Folsom Prison", Cowboy Junkies "Caution Horses", MC5 "Kick Out The Jams". Now would be Michael Hurley " Blueberry Wine", Van Morrison "Astral Weeks", Iron and Wine "Creek Drank The Cradle"... and of course there's Dylan too!
(Photo by Michael Winters)
6) Why is creating music important to you?
Dan: Music has a full body effect on me, whether I am making it or if I am hearing it from someone else. I feel a charge course through me when I know I am supposed to stop what I am doing and write something down. I rarely take a day off and even when I do music is always my companion.
7) Do you have any "guilty pleasure" music? Something the world may be surprised to hear you listen to?
Dan: Britney Spears "Toxic"... that song is awesome... that is the only one I like by her. A close runner up is Whitney Huston "The Greatest Love Of All"!
8) Aside from music, do you have any other pastimes? What would you want people to know about you aside from your musical endeavors?
Dan: I have been known to dabble with art. Finger paints are my favorite! Also I am pretty good at toboggan!
RLR Sidenote: Dan is way too modest and he is a phenomenal artist...check below for one of his great show posters
9) Anything else you want to plug or we should know?
Dan: On a side note it is rumored that I do a Halloween side project called "Doctor Gasp" who is apparently coming out with a new album this September called "Vampire Fish For Two!"... I'll take mine with extra garlic!
Check out Dan's music, schedule and fantastic art online at : http://danblakeslee.com/
He is also playing TONIGHT at the Plough and Stars on Mass Ave in Cambridge. This is his one year anniversary with his current automobile (Alaadin). If that's not reason for celebration, then I don't know what is! See you there!