I was playing some shows around Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early 90s on a 1936 Gibson I bought for $130 and a Washburn guitar that I found abandoned in the closet of the Grateful Dead frat house at my college back in the late 80s. I had moved back to Milwaukee from Portland, Maine in the summer of 1990 after the deaths of two of my closest friends – one from suicide and one in a drunk driving accident. In 1991, the United States began to drop bombs on Iraq and my mother turned to me from the television she was watching in her sewing room to say that, “This is very bad.” I felt haunted and partially broken; music was a refuge. I found that in writing songs, one can create worlds.
The 1980s and early 90s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin were very fruitful years, musically speaking. There were bands like the Oil Tasters and The Crusties, who incorporated brass into their brash punk music; there was the emergence of a man who remains among the most accomplished American songwriters working today, Eric Beaumont a.k.a. Eric Blowtorch, with his fierce and jagged songs that parry Duke Ellington’s melodic sense into a lyrical game where the human imagination battles the venal forces of oppression.
How delightful to have the trickster folk poet and bastard son (musically speaking) of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, multi-instrumentalist John Kruth roll into town. This grandson of a Russian Jewish butcher who escaped the pogroms and had walked from Canada to Syracuse, N.Y. heard my music, was intrigued and proposed recording a proper album - something beyond those “homemade four-track cassetes” I had previously put out. He knew a wide range of musicians around Milwaukee and set us up at East Wind Studios in West Bend, Wisconsin with engineer Walt Hunnicut, son of the novelist Ellen Hunnicut. This was in 1993 and it turns out we were among the the last projects that Walt would do before leaving the studio and training to become an airline pilot.
With the help of people like drummers Kirk McFarlin and Nicholas Frank, Plasticland bass player John Francovic and the diabolically talented cellist Gideon Freudmann, I think we found some wings of our own putting together this collection of songs: From the sonic swamp hollow body guitar roar on the bluegrass-based “Forest Daughter” to the distant galaxies conjured on the flute and cello on “Three Waves.” We were also able to pay homage to my dear friend Tucker Katonah!, who was lost to suicide in 1990. “Song #2” is, in my estimation, a great work by him and his “Cough!” is a unique paean to the alternating bewilderment and boredom of childhood in suburbia.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I neglected the material world, up to and including my own body, during this era and contracted severe and career-suspending tendinitis –the result of playing too much guitar without stop. It took 20 years and changes in diet and lifestyle, but I am playing again and I’m grateful to send these songs from my own “forgotten album” out into the world. Finally.
February 26, 2016
released February 26, 2016
All songs by Dan Hanrahan, except "The Warm Green Mist of the Afternoon" by Dan Hanrahan and Kevin Roderick; "Song #2" by Tucker Katonah!; "Cough!" lyrics by Tucker Katonah! and music by Dan Hanrahan
Produced and arranged by John Kruth
Cover art by JE Moores
Dan Hanrahan– vocals, acoustic guitar, 12 string guitar, six string banjo, melodica
John Kruth –mandolin, flute, electric guitar, banjo
Kirk McFarlin – drums, percussion
Gideon Fruedmann – cello
John Francovic -- bass guitar
Nicholas Frank– drums, percussion, trumpet
Dan Johnson – tuba
Bill Dempsey– organ
Musician and writer Dan Hanrahan has a long history in out-there folk circles. He specializes in surrealist ballads laced
with glam and Brecht. Hanrahan has shared the stage with Gordon Gano and received plaudits from Eugene Chadbourne and Shimmy Disc’s Kramer and has opened shows for They Might Be Giants and Throwing Muses....more