Dan Easley

Born near Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1979, Dan Easley finds he still can't spell Cincinnati. 

Raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Easley has spent a lifetime steeped in music of all sorts; especially traditional Appalachian folk music, but also taking inspiration from sources as disparate as Syd Barrett, Can, Peter Gabriel, Thelonious Monk, Motown, The Beach Boys, Béla Bartók, and Krzysztof Penderecki. He excelled in academics throughout childhood. In early adolescence he abandoned his natural gifts in science and mathematics for studies in religion, psychology, music, and poetry. This nearly killed him.

Easley has worked as audo and video engineer, director, and producer for musicians, oral historians, and documentarians, leading educational software corporations, and local, national, and international broadcasters, for nearly twenty years.  In the last few years his main foci have been towards public broadcasting and music writing, recording, performance, and production. Equipped with a portable multi-track recording rig, a Volkswagen camper, and a bevy of musical instruments, he creates and facilitates auditory art in a variety of natural and artificial settings.  He also works with Bearcade Music Productions to track and mix commercial-quality recordings of  traditional and popular styles of music, both acoustic and electric.

as heard in:

previous projects:

  • Ragged Mountain String Band - old-time fiddle and banjo tunes; dance music and song (2011-2015: lead vocals, banjo, guitar)
  • The Shakes - homebrewed country, folk and rock with Mark Lane (2007-2015: vocals, a variety of instruments)
  • The Kindly Ones - experimental electronic music with Frédéric Dorée (2005-2011: vocals, a variety of instruments, programming)
  • The Lotus Eaters old-time string band (2007-2009: vocals, banjo, mandolin, guitar)
  • Easley and Deaton original electroacoustic music, both preconceived and improvised (2003-2005: vocals, a variety of instruments)
  • The Burnt Possum Poets spoken word, poetry, improvised music (2001-2005)
  • Music Without Borders on WMRA (2013) - a weekly two-hour program featuring folk music both local and from around the world (host, producer)

instruments played:

  • voice, whistling, kazoo, jug
  • tinwhistle, recorder, c-melody saxophone
  • piano, accordion, hammond organ, fender rhodes
  • six-string and tenor guitars, mandolin, banjo (clawhammer style)
  • fiddle, cello, upright bass
  • electric guitar and bass, chapman stick
  • trapset, miscellaneous percussion
  • theremin, synthesizers, samplers, programming

A few of Dan's aesthetic influences include Andrei Tarkovsky, the Russian film director; Syd Barrett, Bob Dylan, and Peter Gabriel; Bela Bartók, Arnold Schoenberg, and Wolfgang Mozart; William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Gary Snyder; Arthur Rimbaud; the Dada artists; the Marx Bros.; the Appalachian Mountains.

solo discography:

The Soleaux Tapes were produced in the middle of the night at KRBD-FM, a community radio station in Ketchikan, Alaska, when Dan was 18. It's half-an-hour of instrumental music with wordless vocals, guitar, and casio keyboard.

The Suites for Machines (numbers one and two) were constructed using old-school trackers and terrifically cheap software synthesizers.

Downtown Rocktown, an acoustic presentation of original songs and contemplations, was recorded in the middle of the night at the old studios of WEMC-FM, which was at the time a small college station in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It marks the beginning of Dan's recorded efforts in pop song, and the end of his surreptitious recording in small radio stations. Nathan Garrett plays upright bass, flute, mandolin, and viola on a few tracks.

solipschism, sundowning, and surreptition track a journey in search of a destination.  Perhaps this is the burden all artists in their mid-twenties must bear.  And, perhaps, a strong-willed quest for electro-experimental exisistentialist pop song form distracted from a more pure or useful aesthetic. These releases present Dan with a serious quandary: he no longer agrees with the sentiments expressed in their lyrics; however, they must retain some meaning or value despite. At any rate, records on the internet don't go out of print.

Last Days on Wolfe Street is a bit of a return to Rocktown: a stripped down set of instruments, a moratorium on synthetic drums, and an attempt to dispose of gratuitous wordplay and effect. It also features Dan's debut on drumset (for better or worse).

On his 31st birthday Dan released a pair of records: a set of mostly synthetic/electronic, mostly instrumental pieces called November, and a selection of original and traditional folk-rock songs - somewhat a follow-up to Wolfe Street - entitled The Farmer's Daughter (and other tall tales).

Over the Winter of 2012-2013 Dan set Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses to music; the results are here

He's currently writing a song cycle based on the narrative works of George Orwell, recording with The Shakes, and playing old-time clawhammer banjo and singing with Ragged Mountain String Band.

available for-hire: