The son of a minister, Dan was born in Louisiana, grew up in Southern California as an art student, then relocated with his wife to her home country of Germany. While making a living as a painter, this guy took the DIY ethos to a whole new level. First, he built some stringed instruments. Crazy, asymmetrical pieces of art almost, including acoustic and electric guitars and basses, a ukulele, and even a three stringed paper “banjo”. Next up, like a deranged Les Paul, he built himself a mixer and began recording some of his original songs to his computer (I’m fairly certain he built that too), playing and singing all of the parts. He burned some copies, painted and printed the cover, then on a whim sent a CD with a note to one of his biggest inspirations, John Prine. By way of explaining himself, Dan wrote “I am not a musician. I am a painter (I paint pictures). I made the CD pretty much just for the hell of it. Partly because I love to sing harmony, partly to annoy the “real” musicians here (hell, I can do that) partly because some things you just can’t paint, and partly just to show off a little.” The letter got through to Prine and resulted in a deal with Prine’s record label, Oh Boy Records. THAT’S punk rock. Except it isn’t.”
New to Dan Reeder? Jonathan suggests you start here: “Dan’s debut, Dan Reeder, is a twisted mixture of blues, folk, and gospel. But beyond the beautiful stacked harmonies and sparse instrumentation, what really knocked me out was the writing. This is some of the most unique and “direct to the point” song-writing I have ever heard. Additionally, much like another favorite of mine, The Replacements, Dan can switch from heartbreakingly beautiful to side-splitting hilarious in an instant. For example, Tulips On The Table, a heartfelt lament that could have been a Hank Williams tune, is followed by Food and Pussy (“Whadya want? I want food and pussy. How come? It’s just the way God made me”). However, this is not a “joke” record. Dan pulls off the one of the rarest feats: his funny songs are so well written that they don’t grow stale after repeated listenings. His singular world view and affinity for old school melodies provide for some of the most interesting and, simply put, GOOD and honest music I have ever heard.
So if you are looking for something truly unique, and most importantly listenable, do yourself a favor and check out get any one of Dan Reeder’s three records (they are all amazing), check out his website, and you can thank me later. And Dan, if you happen to see this, what’s a brother gotta do get one of those sweet Dan Reeder ukes?”
About our guest author, Jonathan Bright: Jonathan Bright is one half of Bright Little Field, a band that most recently has taken on a task that some might see as blasphemous: they took what they considered the best Replacements tunes and recorded them only with light percussion, ukuleles and their own polished harmonies. Sure, the concept may sound gimmicky, but the result is strong, especially the band’s take on I Will Dare, which you can sample in the video clip below. Before joining forces with Tom Littlefield to form BLF, Jonathan Bright played in more of a punk style, but he was drawn to ukulele that his father had bought in Hawaii. Bright also recently co-wrote The Moon Song for Raelyn Nelson, a tune that was recorded with her grandfather, Willie Nelson. With rumors of a possible Replacements reunion, Bright Little Field’s timing couldn’t be better. Give the record a spin, lean back and imagine the possibilities of BLF backing Paul and Tommy. Hey…it could happen!
Buy Treatment Bound: A Ukulele Tribute To The Replacements and visit the Bright Little Field website for more info about the band.