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Blues, funk, and rock in one package

Posted by Martin Finucane  December 19, 2009 10:01 PM

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Performing his self-described “rockin blues funk” around the country, Dan Lawson has seen his music spread from nightclubs to the Internet to the cable TV hit “The Sopranos.” On New Year’s Eve, the Dan Lawson Band will appear at The River Club in Scituate, reuniting Lawson with the club’s owners, Phil and Harry Booras, who owned The Channel nightclub in Boston during the 1980s.

In an interview with The Globe, Lawson, a longtime resident of Mashpee, talked about his music and his signature tune, “Let’s Ride.”

I played at The Channel when I had a band named The Keep. Back in the early ‘80s, we couldn’t bill ourselves as being from the Cape because there was an odd stigma that if you weren’t from Boston, you couldn’t fit in. So we kind of worked out way into Boston and proved ourselves, and next thing you know, we were doing The Channel probably two or three times a month.

The two shows that stand out the most were the opening act I did with Mark Farner after he left Grand Funk Railroad. And then we did an incredible Halloween show with The Fools, and we fit right in with the program.

[The Dan Lawson Band] isn’t your conventional, traditional blues band. We’re a blues band with a rock edge, and a funk edge to what we do. I think in this business, you don’t really have to be so much better than anybody else, just be a little different.

When it comes to my guitar playing, you could say it’s a cross of David Gilmore, Jeff Beck, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. I never had any theoretical music training in my life, but somewhere in there, there’s some sort of melding going on.

We were lucky do some shows with Fox 25 last year, which really got people to recognize who we were. And when we did “Backstage With Barry Nolan,” that seemed to shoot us across the planet. Somehow, a couple of places in California got copies of that video, and not too long afterward, they’re bringing us to California.

I wrote “Let’s Ride” a little while back. It’s a Texas boogie blues, and the lyrics are about just going out and getting on the bike and going for a ride. I started performing it at motorcycle rallies, and they have a completely different air. When the motorcycle folks come out to the shows, they want to be entertained and they want something that they can relate to.

“Let’s Ride,” has basically turned out to be a national motorcycle anthem. I don’t consider myself to be any kind of big artist. I love what I do, and I love to do it for the people I do it for. But when people are singing your song and you’re standing down there and looking at it, it’s overwhelming.

I made a demo of that song, and somehow the demo was sent out and I ended up selling an unbelievable amount of single downloads from that. So then we did a full production of that song.

I hate to multi-track. I like a live studio sound, and for the new CD we’re working on, the music is analoged, then digitized. We’re a very guitar-oriented band, so we make sure to get a warm sound that’s very smooth, simple, yet so effective.

You can hear both versions on “The Sopranos.” If you catch the right show, you can hear the first one, and on a later show, you’ll catch the full studio version. It’s also been used by ESPN for their X-Games, and we’ve also been on MTV’s “Road Rules” and “Making the Band.” And I know that some people even use it for exercising because of the speed.

The Dan Lawson Band, with drummer Tim Provost and guitarist John Brickley, will perform on New Year’s Eve at The River Club in Scituate. The band is preparing its 2010 national tour, which will begin at the Daytona Beach Bike Week in late February and include appearances with Junior Walker & the All Stars, part of Motown Records’ 50th anniversary celebration.


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