Friday, September 14, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., Unity Hall, All Souls UU, 19 Jay Street, New London, CT. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Visit fridaynightfolk.org for season schedule and information.
Dan Stevens: House rockin' solo fingerstyle blues from the depths of the Delta careening through the New York-centered folk/blues revival to the present. Spirit and originality married to a reverence for authenticity of style.
Dan Stevens is an acoustic blues stylist, bottleneck slide player and protege of New York City's folk legend Dave Van Ronk. His music has been described as "House rockin' fingerstyle blues emanating from the depths of the delta and careening through the New York centered folk/blues revival to the present. Spirit, presence and originality married to a reverence for authenticity of style." Long a relentlessly touring solo artist covering the Eastern US, Virgin Islands, UK and Germany Dan Stevens sought out Connecticut's best and most "fiery" musicians to form the band he had long envisioned. The Fiery Band performs a diverse selection of upbeat acoustic and electric blues, originals and roots music.
At the young age of sixteen, Dan Stevens' romantic streak was ignited by his first guitar teacher in small town central Pennsylvania who told him stories about the lives of traveling blues musicians like Mississippi John Hurt and Fred McDowell. After being inspired by Woody Guthrie’s book, “Bound for Glory”, the magnetic lure of the road captured his imagination and with a driving passion he hitchhiked and hopped freight trains guitar in hand across the United States five times, eventually covering over 100,000 miles.
Always seeking diverse experiences, he has worked as a teacher in Pennsylvania and Arizona, a rock-climbing instructor in New Mexico, broke his collarbone riding bulls in Colorado and sailed schooners for a living on the Eastern seaboard. He lived full time on his own wooden sloop in Mystic CT for a couple of years while performing solo up and down the East Coast. A high-light of this period was sailing throughout Central and South America as mate aboard David Crosby’s (Crosby, Nash, and Young) sailboat, the Mayan.
Musically, Dan continued to hone his guitar skills taking lessons from renowned acoustic guitarist and W.C. Handy Award winner Paul Rishell, who taught him how to play slide. Later, he was blessed to study with Greenwich Village based folk/blues icon Dave Van Ronk during the last years of Van Ronk’s storied life. His repertoire reflects the influence of his revered teachers who actually knew and performed with many of the legendary blues masters. His tastes include delta blues “bottleneck slide” tunes, the more carefree piedmont style, and arrangements comprised of complex orchestration with plenty of chord changes up the neck in the spirit of Dave Van Ronk. His originals remain true to the traditional forces which powerfully shaped his early musical development and prompt listeners to praise the authenticity of his approach.
As a full time professional musician since 1991, Dan continues to tour incessantly along the East Coast, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.K., and Germany. He has appeared with such artists as James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Charlie Daniels, Livingston Taylor, Ronnie Earl, Paul Geremia, Dave Van Ronk, Tom Paxton, Kathy Mattea and others. An irrepressible guitar collector, Dan surrounds himself with vintage and custom instruments acquired in his many travels. Usually packing three guitars, any given performance may find him choosing to play a 1950’s Sears Silvertone, a 1931 National Steel, a retro lime green Resophonic, and more.
Termed “Connecticut’s hardest working bluesman” by the New York Times in 2002, he plays over 200 engagements a year, including concerts, clubs, festivals, coffeehouses, community and private events and educational programs. Over the years, Dan has opened for Paul Geremia, Dave Van Ronk, Charlie Musselwhite, Tom Paxton, Kathy Mattea and many other artists. He has appeared at Long Island’s Riverhead Blues Festival, the Berlin Blues Festival in Connecticut and was the closer in the acoustic section of the Fleet Blues Festival in Albany, New York. Dan was a finalist at the International Blues Challenge '08 on Beale Street in Memphis TN with partner Chris D'Amato and has been chosen to be included on the roster of the Music Under New York program enabling him to perform in prime locations throughout the MTA system such as Times Square and Grand Central Station.
Dan’s new CD “Dirt Floor Sessions” is an eclectic compilation of real rockin’, raw, roots music and originals. The CD features bottleneck slide, performed on Dan’s homemade three-stringed cigar box guitar, as well as selections played on a one-stringed diddly bow, tuba, clarinet, harmonica, lapsteel, and more. Included are several of Dan’s renditions of arrangements learned directly from his mentor, Dave Van Ronk, in New York City. “Dirt Floor Sessions” will be available for sale at this concert.
Darin Keech: Singer/Songwriter, Playwright, Indie-Film music composer, Sailing Charter Captain.
Darin Keech, well-known as front man for Band of Humans, is a man who has worn many hats in southeastern Connecticut performing arts circles, as composer of numerous indie-film scores, and producer and director of an original play.
In 1994 Darin formed Band of Humans (BOH) and released a CD featuring 12 original songs entitled “Alive”. In an effort to expand on opportunities for original works, Darin trademarked BOH and transformed the band into an art project involving music, theater and film.. Throughout the years, Darin has had the pleasure of working and performing with many musicians, actors and film technicians. BOH still perfom from time to time these days, usually as a trio with Darin, Louise Muller on violin and Mike Barrette on electric guitar.
In 2002 Darin wrote, produced and directed his play “The Common Itch”. The play included the band, eleven actors and four dancers. “The Common Itch” was produced in three Connecticut theaters (Donald Oat Theater, Bradley Playhouse, Eugene O'Neil Theater). The performances attracted extraordinary press coverage, excellent attendance, and strong feedback.
Film scores include: (2003) Nightshade Productions indie-film “Snowman”; (2004) Nightshade Productions indie-film “Radio Rage”, co-written with Robert Stanley, followed by the release of the CD “Band of Humans Film Score Music”; (2006) the indie-film/documentary “Trashed”, with Band of Humans (BOH), followed by a screening at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT, on February 19. BOH opened the screening with a live concert performance involving film images and stage actors.
Two scenes from Darin's play, “The Common Itch”, were performed at the Eugene O’Neil Theater in Waterford, CT, in 2005. A music video for the song The Curse of Micah Rood, written and co-directed by Darin, Alec Aston and Bill Hammel was released in 2008. The award-winning indie-film “The Curse of Micah Rood” was directed by Alec Aston, written by Nick Checker, and starred Ron Palillo (a brilliant stage actor, also famous for his role as Arnold Horshack of the TV 80's hit series “Welcome Back, Kotter”).
Darin currently holds a 50GT Masters Coast Guard Captains License and offers spring, summer and fall sailing charters out of Mystic, CT, with his classic, 1972, 39-foot Ericson sailboat, Poet’s Lounge. During the month of November Darin is a delivery captain for sailboats leaving New England bound for Florida, and spends the winter months as a home restoration contractor.
About Friday Night Folk at All Souls: Bringing quality folk music and performers to Southeastern Connecticut, Friday Night Folk concerts began at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New London in 1989. After a ten year hiatus, Friday Night Folk came back, and has presented Bill Morrissey, Bill Staines, Richard Shindell, John Gorka, Work 0’ the Weavers, Ida Red, emma’s revolution, and Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, among others. Visit www.fridaynightfolk.org for the complete 2012-13 concert line-up.