It was only a matter of time for a project like ‘Say Darling’ to come together…a band of old friends and road warriors – a super group of sorts – from the New England Roots Rock and Americana scene.
Grammy Nominated singer and songwriter Celia Woodsmith – of the acclaimed bluegrass band ‘Della Mae’ – and crtically lauded guitarist Chris Hersch of the Alt. Country Rock band ‘Girls Guns & Glory’ – took the opportunity to form the band they always wanted when both tenures with these international touring acts came to a close.
Country, R&B and Blues may be the backbone of the band, but make no mistake, ‘Say Darling’ rocks out. Powered by Woodsmith’s straight-from-the-depths vocalizing and Hersch’s finger-flying fretwork (and fortified by vintage Hammond organ tones and rhythm-ready drums) this gutsy ensemble embraces its roots yet keeps its feet firmly in the here-and-now.
Blending distinctive original songs with classic tunes that pay homage to a shared musical heritage, ‘Say Darling’ evokes the funky drive of Little Feat, the moving vocals of Bonnie Raitt and the instrumental prowess of the Tedeschi-Trucks Band while maintaining a firm identity of its own.
With a suitcase of songs, Maine folk troubadour Dan Blakeslee ventured into the subways of Boston in 1995 to practice his craft. His songs of true life adventures combine the essence of early folk music with a dose of country grit. He has toured the U.S. and performed with Josh Ritter, The Low Anthem, David Wax Museum, Lydia Loveless, The Lumineers, Brown Bird, Joe Fletcher, Jonah Tolchin, Death Vessel, Liam Finn and Kimya Dawson among others. In 2015 his dream of playing Newport Folk Festival became a reality, the location where Bob Dylan went electric 50 years earlier. Blakeslee is unafraid to bare his very soul on stage, emptying a loaded cache of emotion and passion onto the stage for all to witness, explore and devour.
With Blakeslee's new album The Alley Walker, he exposes a risky and more evolved take on what awarded him “Folk Artist of the Year” at the Boston Music Awards in 2014, and “Male Performer of the Year” at the New England Music Awards in 2015. Though his boots and fingertips are worn and his guitar has been strummed in hundreds of venues across the country, Dan Blakeslee still delivers his songs with the same heart of a young, lyric scribbling troubadour, who knows because he’s tried it, that he can out sing a passing train.
"There is a feeling of antiquity to the songs, which are written in a poetic language that could have been taken from Walt Whitman's 'Leaves Of Grass' " - Boston Globe
*Photo Credit: Michael Winters