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Dan & the Wildfire came into the studio to perform a live set for WERS’ Live Music Week. The lively folk/rock group played three songs off of their second album Smoke Signals, which the group self-released in October of 2012.
Dan & the Wildfire is composed of five members: the titular Dan himself, who is the lead singer and plays guitar; Sam, who plays bass; Thom, who plays trumpet; Kyle, who plays drums; and Matt, who plays organ, but sadly couldn’t make it to the station for the live mix. All of them sing in addition to playing their instruments, which gives their music a very full, rich sound.
Stylistically, they fall somewhere in between their various influences; you can hear hints of folk, rock, country, and blues in their hybrid roots music. Their vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, a group which they all claim to be fans of. Having all graduated from Berklee College of Music, it’s no surprise that their individual talents provoke that comparison too. Still, they aren’t flashy at all, and instead embody a pop simplicity, which helps to glue the many sounds that they draw from together. Ultimately, songwriting seems to be at the heart of what Dan & the Wildfire are all about and it shows. Individual parts come together seamlessly as the songs progress towards their satisfying ends.
Dan’s powerful lead vocals are pushed to the forefront, acting as the primary foothold into the band’s music. Sam and Kyle prove to be an able rhythm section, giving the songs energy and forward motion. What really sets them apart though is the addition of Thom’s trumpet, which provides soaring leads, like in “Western Time.” It’s a great embellishment to the already solid instrumentation.
The band originally began as the solo project of singer Dan, who needed something to do with songs he had left over after another band split up. He recorded Nothing, Anything, Everything with the assistance of a couple of the other guys and eventually asked them if they wanted to make it a full band. Thankfully they did. Given the artistic resources that they collectively share, as a result of their education and experience, there doesn’t seem to be much that they can’t accomplish as a band. They are currently thinking about writing and recording a short bluegrass record. “You’ve got to keep the content fresh. The key is to have a lot of different songs,” says Dan. It’s an ambitious statement for a group who released their sophomore album mere months ago.
Dan & the Wildfire have also proven their strong work ethic, having performed countless shows in the U.S. in the few of their existence. They are currently touring along the East Coast in the coming weeks.