Back by popular demand, candles flickered as an expectant crowd awaited the return of the freshest Blues performer to have come from Shropshire, with the Oak as always supplying plentiful g+t’s, pints and fine wines. Standing before an expectantly cheerful crowd with a half drunk pint glass not far from reach, a sullen yet determined expression was spread across Dans face as a quick sound-check drowned out the dregs of conversation around the stage. As the first chord of the evening was struck we were wowed by an unexpectedly strong voice that you’d have thought would have been derived straight from the southern states of America. The crowd grew smiles which inspired further passion to emerge from Dan’s vocals as I tapped along with a grin across my face. Dan didn’t have to look far for motivation – the audience was simply dazzled by the opening performance and wolf whistles were heard following the first song of the evening. Even with a snapped string through the next 5 minutes this guy demanded appreciation, with dumbfounding finger movement and an exceptionally brilliant voice to match.
Chairs started to become scarce as Dan prepared his harmonica over his neck, intriguing the crowd as they prepared to witness his true talents. As the smooth melody correlated with the cosy atmosphere nods of appreciation spread across the room. The night proceeded to covers from the likes of Willy Nelsons Roll me up and smoke me when I die, a favourite of Dan’s to sing, which rythym was simply impossible not to get lost in. The turn-out of old and young were brought together by wagging fingers and tilting heads, Dan portayed the emotion in his lyrics exceptionally well to something beyond perfection, it was a purely inspirational performance throughout. Bashful laughs of modesty followed each final string plucked as Dan received the positive reception graciously. He brought new emotion to each song, whether this meant a new tempo or another soulful lyric to ponder. When our eyes met I couldn’t help but grin. He made an instrument of the floor by stomping out pulsating bass, cool and crisply like the lagers flowing. His hands were often blurs as he brought stunning conclusions to each cover with an energy that never faltered, and a voice that never lost pitch. Applause only grew as he covered tracks from such legends as Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters, which were enticingly made his own.
I caught him alone as he was ordering a pint, and he was humbled to say the least. We spoke about the Oak and he said it was such a nice crowd that he’d hopefully return by the end of the month. When performing he described his passion and love for the blues as his life, ever since he was young when he first learned to play the Blues on guitar, and went on to perform in Blues bands in school. Tragedy struck however when he was in college as he was blinded in one eye, which forced him to drop out. He explained that Blues became an outlook for him, more than just a hobby as it helped him through, understandably, very tough times. An exceptionally talented musician and a lovely guy in general, I hope after reading this you’ll look him up and maybe catch a performance when he comes to a tavern near you.