Veracious recently caught up with Dan Blakeslee and The Calabash Club about their latest record, The Alley Walker. You can read the album review here: https://veraciousmagazine.com/2017/08/21/dan-blakeslee-and-the-calabash-club/
You can purchase the album on their website here: http://danblakeslee.com
Interview by: Samantha Toy
Hi all, how have you been today?
Things are good! Just gearing up for the tour and finalizing details, burning the candle at both ends… but knowing it will all be worth it come tour time! September is almost here and we are really looking forward to actually playing music instead of telling people about it.
You released a new album, The Alley Walker. How has the reaction been so far?
I am very pleased to say the reactions have been great! Heart, sweat and blood was put into those songs and it delights me when the public is in tune with what we are doing for the most part. You can’t please everyone… and we certainly aren’t trying to either. I have always had the approach to songwriting to do what comes organically and naturally. Good honest songs are what people need more of these days, nothing plastic.
What is your favorite track of the album?
“Johnny and June” is what I gravitate to. Though they are all special to me, that one stands out. I wrote it after Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash passed away. The song remained unfinished for a couple years and only missing a few lines. I force nothing when it comes to writing so it struck me one day when I was touring through Arkansas and thought to seek out Johnny Cash’s hometown. When I arrived in Dyess, Arkansas, it was just as I had pictured it… mostly dirt roads and wide open pastures. I began driving on this one stretch of road when I can across a street sign that said “End of County Maintained Road”. My car almost instantly got stuck in the mud — I figured it’s as good a place as any to finish writing that song!
What made you all decide to record in a 150 year-old mill and near a waterfall by the railroad tracks?
Most of the band live in the vicinity of 1130 ft Recording Studio, where we made The Alley Walker. That isn’t necessarily the reason we recorded there though. It was the genius of studio engineer Chris Chase that made the clear choice. He is a wizard at dialing in the sound and likes experimentation in the studio. We like that too! And at the end of the day, you can’t beat a setting like that.
How does your previous album, Owed to the Tanglin’ Wind differ from The Alley Walker?
Owed To The Tanglin’ Wind was supposed to be a solo acoustic album, however, there were a handful of songs that other instruments were added to. As for The Alley Walker, it’s the full band on all songs except for one. This was the concept many years ago when I began assembling the songs to have it feature the band up front. I also made sure we could all record at the same time in the same room to catch the movement and natural swells in a live performance, microphone bleeds and all.
What can we expect in the future of Dan Blakeslee and The Calabash Club?
We are trying to play as many shows as possible, staying focused on the upcoming album release tour and festivals next year. We haven’t even had time to think about what is next as far as a record goes because The Alley Walker is upon us and keeping us busy!