The term singer/songwriter is often one that’s typecast into a certain style, but Leicester-based Dan Wright is on a mission to rewrite the term with his hooky blend of what he has termed ‘acoustic indie blues.’
Dan launches his new EP Drunken Words and Sober Thoughts on Friday, so we caught up with him to find out what to expect from his music and the man behind it.
On the EP, Dan told us: “It tells the story of the difficulty people, including myself, often have connecting with one another emotionally and how often the truth about our feelings that lie bubbling under the surface burst through after one too many drinks.
The tracks that feature on this EP are taken from different stages in my life, some were written the morning after wild nights out with friends, whilst others are a blurry eyed view of what young love once was for me. Which hopefully some people can relate to!”
Dan’s backstory gives us all hope that one day, if we really want to, we can become musicians, having taught himself guitar and started playing live relatively late on. He told us: “When I was growing up there was always music playing in my house, from Phil Collins to Iron Maiden, so I guess I was always going to have a varied music taste. I started writing songs in my bedroom when I was about 14, which I’m sure were pretty terrible! I picked up a cheap guitar when I was 16, mainly because Arctic Monkeys had just come out and every one of my mates (including me) wanted to be Alex Turner.
I self taught myself, practiced for hours after hours with little progress, and for the next two years I had a love hate relationship with the guitar but with the help of some friends showing me techniques I finally started to pick it up! I didn’t actually play a live gig until I was 22, but I got such a buzz after that first nervous performance it gave me the drive to do more and more. I have tried being in a band in the past but I feel being solo gives me the freedom to do what I want with my music.”
The EP kicks off with a jaunty acoustic guitar riff and big vocals in the form of opening track Good To Be Home, with its big singalong chorus and funky little bursts of guitar riff.
It’s followed by the slightly more laid back and bluesy intro to Kings and Slaves, in which Dan’s vocals are engaging and enjoyable, with light guitar licks linking them together. The pace picks up through the brief chorus then drops back down into the original brooding verse – and there’s the odd classic lyric from down the years thrown into his lyrics. See if you can spot them for yourself when the EP is out.
Title track Drunken Words and Sober Thoughts is up next, and the subject is fairly clear from lyrics in the opening section: “Last night got out of hand, stumbled once or twice catch me when I land, I lost my friends after the first bar.” As the track continues it sounds like your classic Irish rock track lamenting the singer’s drunken adventures, in this case cataloguing the increasing pace of a night out that gets more and more raucous. Big, catchy acoustic guitars supporting even bigger, soulful vocals that you can’t help but sing along with.
Penultimate track Missing You Tonight drops the pace down with a light guitar intro in support of Dan’s lamenting vocals. It builds gradually in the chorus of “Is it alright if I’m missing you tonight, And is it alright if I want you back by my side,” followed by a slow, brooding mini guitar lick.
The EP closes out with My Little Demon, which kicks off with a verse of big vocals and darting guitar riffs in the background. The vocals dominate alongside prominent acoustic riffs, with funky guitar licks prevalent throughout.
Dan’s songwriting is influenced by various artists, from the likes of classic artists like Eric Clapton, Paul Weller, The Beatles, Phil Collins and Marvin Gaye, all the way through to the more recent likes of Jake Bugg, Noel Gallagher, Kelly Jones (Stereophonics) and Ed Sheeran, who he says: “Have inspired me as a musician to write in what I believe in, and not to just make music for the generic radio listener, like I feel a lot of artists do these days.”
Dan expands: “I always like to write from my own personal experiences. I like to travel and enjoy socialising with friends, and I usually find after that I have fresh ideas for some new songs.
“I also pick up some of my best lines from unknowingly listening in to other peoples conversations, the various ways in which people describe certain situations can be very interesting. The actual title for this EP came from a friend originally from Kenya, who I met whilst living in Melbourne, Australia. I guess it was his kind of motto, and it stuck with me!”
Drunken Words and Sober Thoughts is out on Friday, after which Dan will be promoting it with a string of gigs across the Midlands at which he’s looking forward to playing his new music to new audiences. He’s also hoping to appear at various local festivals this summer, with Simon Say’s Festival in Leicester already confirmed in July.