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Dan Stevens (US)
Dan Stevens (US)
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Acoustic, fingerstyle blues performing slide, pre-war blues, fingerpicking, country blues, delta blues, traditional blues, early jazz and originals. Influence
House rockin' solo 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 reverance for authenticity of style. Studied for two years with Dave Van Ronk in NYC. Learned slide from Boston country blues legend Paul Rishell.
Band/artist history
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 Guthries 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 highlight of this period was sailing throughout Central and South America as mate aboard David Crosbys (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 Ronks 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, 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 1950s Sears Silvertone, a 1931 National Steel, a retro lime green Resophonic, and more. Dans most recent CD, Broke Down and Hungry, features Sugar Ray Norcia, of Sugar Ray & the Bluetones and Roomful of Blues, on harmonica. Original songs such as Broke Down and Hungry, Driving Fool, Open Road, and Ramblin give a sense of what is was like for him to travel 165,000 miles in three years in an 88 Chevy Van. Art Tipaldi, Senior Writer for the Blues Revue magazine, in his review of this CD, offered, His stylish fingerpicking and warm vocals shade these tunes with fresh, penetrating nuances. Several of his traditional offerings include Big Bill Broonzys Keep Your Hands Off Her and Long Tall Mama, as well as Reverend Gary Davis Light of this World. In live shows, Dan often pauses between songs, offering historical trivia or relating incidents from his personal experience. Termed Connecticuts 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. He has appeared at Long Islands 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 won the 2004 Connecticut Acoustic Blues Challenge and will represent the state at the International Blues Challenge on Beale Street in Memphis TN in February, 2005. He lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut with his wife Gail and daughter, Haley.
Have you performed in front of an audience?
I am a full time musician who tours the Eastern US, Virgin Islands, UK and Germany.
Your musical influences
Dave Van Ronk, Dave Van Ronk, Paul Rishell, Rev. Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Son House, Bukka White, Ernie Hawkins, Woody Mann, Rory Block, Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray Norcia, Duke Robillard, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bonnie Raitt, Lightnin' Hopkins, Roy Bookbinder, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Guy Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, John Cephas, Steve James, Peter Lang, John Koerner, Doc Watson, Blind Blake, John Hurt, Warner Williams, John Jackson, Larry Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Tampa Red, Ry Cooder, Lightnin' Hopkins, Skip James, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Mike Bloomfield, Jo-Ann Kelly, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Elizabeth Cotten, Guy Van Duser, Jack Casady, Jelly Roll Morton, Dave Alvin, Chris Smither, Muddy Waters.
What equipment do you use?
Gibson acoustic and electric guitars, old Silvertones
Anything else?
Finalist with Chris D'Amato at 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN