May 10, 2017
Folk Songsmith Dan Blakeslee Announces New Album: The Alley Walker
NEW YORK — May 10, 2017 — Recorded “by a waterfall near the railroad tracks in Rollinsford, NH,” The Alley Walker, the newest album by Dan Blakeslee and the Calabash Club, is a bluesy, rock-and-roll twist on the beautifully-composed folk style that has become Blakeslee’s signature. Due for release on August 18, the album is a highly-awaited follow-up to 2014’s Owed to the Tanglin’ Wind, which was named Album of the Year by Red Line Roots.
Blakeslee and producer Chris Chase wanted the album to “capture the band how they sound live. Everyone in the room playing at the same time with natural swells, the safety off… and roll tape.” Band members Nick Phaneuf (bass), Jim Rudolf (drums), Mike Effenberger (piano and accordion) come together with Blakeslee to masterfully create this raw-yet-euphoric, richly-layered sound.
Every track on the album is a true-story glimpse into Blakeslee’s life and journey. The rock-country fabric of the album provides the perfect foundation for his beautiful method of storytelling. “Johnny and June” begins like a twangy slide-guitar country crooner and ends as a full-blown, hand-clapping spiritual revival meeting that will have everyone joining in (“Watch them rise together, watch them rise…”).
“Lone Star” is gritty from the start, kicking off with the sound of boots crunching on gravel as they walk away. This low-key ode to hope, good healing, tattoos, and Texas gets toes gently tapping with its chunky strumming and lonesome accordion wail. Meanwhile, “Ain’t No Shame In Wastin’ Time” plays like a country retro Carter-Cash creation in its plea to slow it all down a little. By the end of the record you feel as though you were part of an all-out celebration.
In addition to being a musician, Blakeslee spent years working as an artist. The title track of the album, “The Alley Walker,” comes from his memories of getting from place to place by sneaking through alleyways of Portsmouth, NH, in order to avoid the people to whom he owed artwork. The song’s echoing vocals takes listeners deep into the darkness and mystery of his lonely alley disguise. The final track selection, it leaves audiences amazed at Blakeslee and company’s eclectic versatility.
“I put my heart, soul, and sweat, and tears into the album,” said Blakeslee, “and the band gave everything they’ve got and then some.” This bare-it-all approach to music is what earned him the Boston Music Award for “Folk Artist of the Year” in 2014 and the “Male Performer of the Year” honor at the 2015 New England Music Awards. Blakeslee will go on a split-coast tour to promote The Alley Walker, hitting the east coast in September and sweeping the west coast in November.
The Alley Walker (and assorted Dan Blakeslee and the Calabash Club swag) is available for pre-purchase via PledgeMusic.
About Dan Blakeslee:
After completing art school in 1995, Dan Blakeslee headed for the subway tunnels of Boston where he could be heard pounding out fledgling originals on an acoustic guitar in the early stages of developing his signature style. Many of those songs would later become realized on seven full length albums including Tatnic Tales in 2010 which was recorded in a barn in his home state of Maine, and 2014’s Owed to the Tanglin’ Wind, which was named Album of the Year by Red Line Roots. Following a US tour and countless shows behind him to include supporting slots for The Lumineers, Josh Ritter, and The Low Anthem, Blakeslee releases The Alley Walker in 2017, another vividly raw lens into his soul.