Earlier this month The Daniel Nathan Band released the follow up to its 2007 self-titled debut, and with a name like "Voodoo Magic," the overt Jimi Hendrix guitar wail comes a little surprise.
What's interesting, though, is that it doesn't last. Push past the opening track and the spectrum of genres represented in just a six-song collection is impressive. "Fresh Bud" arrives direct from the Jethro Tull, but transitions into the gritty, horn-driven jam, "Don't Tell Me You Love Me."
Possibly most notable is frontman Daniel Nathan's rich talent as a flautist. Randomly stumbling across his mother's flute at the tender age of 10, he's since become a master of his craft as well as an inspiring example of musical drive and creativity.
We caught up with Nathan to chat about "Voodoo Magic" and get the lowdown on his band's upcoming show at the Six Points Pub & Grille in West Allis, 6200 W. Greenfield Ave., at 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 29.
OnMilwaukee.com: Congrats on the new release. How was the release show on March 8?
Daniel Nathan: The release March 8 at The Osthelder was a great party. The crowd loved it when I strolled out into the audience with my flute and rocked 'em out, standing atop booths and getting up-close and personal. I ran out of Daniel Nathan Band logo shirts, and I ended up giving a fan the shirt off my back as a souvenir at closing time.
OMC: This is your second album in two years. In what ways has the band evolved from the debut to "Voodoo Magic."
DN: We've really taken the feedback from the first CD to heart. Some people mentioned we would benefit from stronger choruses and I tried to incorporate them in "Voodoo Magic," "Hermit's Trail" and "Sands of Mars." Leaving people humming your choruses is a very important element in songwriting. We also picked up a new bass player in Jim Korn and his groove-based style is echoed throughout the CD.
OMC: I'm interested in your history with the flute as your instrument of choice from an early age. What drew you to it and how easy or hard is it to incorporate the soft sound into a relatively rockin' band?
DN: Funny story -- I found my mom's old flute in a drawer when I was 10 years old and decided I was going to play it. The rest is history.
Most people think it is an odd choice to add into heavy music, but once they hear it, they like it. As long as you perform with energy, people get into it. There are still some Tull-haters out there that can't stand it, but you can't please everyone.
OMC: Which song are you most proud of on "Voodoo Magic?"
DN: I probably like "Voodoo Magic" the most, overall, but I am most proud of "Fresh Bud." This was my first composition where I incorporated a horn section and keys. I wrote out note-for-note parts for the tenor sax, trumpet and trombone and a rough chart for the keys. We rehearsed once with the keys but I didn't get to hear the horns until we were in the studio. I am very pleased with the outcome.
OMC: From my vantage point, it seems as though the Milwaukee blues scene is exploding as of late. What are your thoughts?
DN: It's definitely a supportive community. The great thing about the blues is that they are universal, and while people develop their own styles, anyone can play with anyone, and they do. It's all about information sharing. People show you something and then you show them something.
OMC: The Jimi Hendrix influences are palpable throughout your songs. In what ways has his craftsmanship help shape yours as a musician?
DN: I guess if you listen to a particular artist for an average of two hours a week for 12 years, some of his style will rub off! I really dig Hendrix because of the emotion he puts into his playing. I don't think there will ever be anyone as innovative.
OMC: You've got a Milwaukee show on the horizon at the Six Points Pub & Grille. What can we expect from you guys on March 29?
DN: Sax? Keys? Harmonica? Brand new songs written after the CD release? You never know what you might hear at a Daniel Nathan Band show.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”