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Dan Whitley At Arlene Grocery, Saturday, December 5th, 2015, Reviewed

dan

Following a pretty good AC/DC cover band at Arlene’s Grocery last night, a well attended gig in support of his fine debut release Calling All Gods (produced by roots rock pioneer Malcolm Burn), Dan Whitley was on fire from the word go. Whitley prowled the stage wrestling, psychedelic riffs from his Airline guitar, while singing the South back to life. He dances around the stage like an acrobat on steroids, having the time of his life.

A happily married man in Forked River, down the shore, raising two young daughters, Dan  performs like the tearaway ghosts he sings so often about. Cars, girls and drugs only exist to bring him closer to the blues. Whitley opened the evening with the title track , summoning the spirit of his legendary brother Chris Whitley (playing what looked like one of Chris’ old guitars), and other heroes of blues and boogie. From there he smacked down for 40 minutes of hard blues rockers with a stellar band, featuring bassist Kevin Jenkins and drummer Steve Decker, a stalwart rhythm section keeping him honest.

It gave Dan the room to go crazy and he took full advantage though surprisingly it was as a singer he truly shone. “Genius Of The Light” was a perfect memento mori and where the light was brightest.  There is a Whitley thing, Dan’s niece Trixie has it, Dan has it, it is a future roots wail almost shamanistic high pitched ululation, a cry to the spirit. It deepens what it touches.

Dan has the skills to be a big time guitar hero but he chooses his talents to create moody soundscape that moves between his tragedy and his future. As something of a guitarist myself, I’d love to work with him, he has a unique and distinctive approach to the instrument that should appeal to all blues lover. It is a Southern call upwards and at Arlene’s Grocery last night, it  was a joy to watch it come to life.

2 Comments

  1. nancy on December 6, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    DAN, rock on, little brother. love you and your family <3

  2. amy e fisher on December 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    so wish i could have seen this show Daniel! maybe a trip to L.A. is in your near future? Rock on and have a merry little Christmas now 😉

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