Dan Howler featured in “Borrowed Tunes” 8th Anniversary show: the music of Neil Young

Hey everybody, Dan Howler is going to be featured solo and acoustic in the 8th Anniversary of Borrowed Tunes, a concert celebrating the music of Neil Young and featuring some of the finest singer-songwriters from the area.  The show is running two nights, May 1st and 2nd at Hugh’s Room in downtown Toronto. Links below for details and ticket info: Click for tickets to the show Friday May 1st Click for tickets to the show Saturday May 2nd Here’s a little preview of what you’re going to hear at the show.  It’ll be a night of great music from one of the most influential Canadian songwriters of all time so if you’re in Toronto don’t miss it.


The hats of the Dan Howler record: a photo essay

As weeks passed at the Sound Distillery, we noticed a huge diversity in both our musical inspiration and our headgear.  What if the two are entwined?  What if the music we make is, in part, a product of the hats we wear while making it?  After all, they say the clothes make the man.

And with that in mind, we bring you The hats of the Dan Howler record: a photo essay.

Ryan Cassidy blows the big one

Oh boy, things are really starting to take shape.  If Dan, Duncan and I are the cake, guys like Ryan Cassidy are the icing.

It was a joy to have Ryan out to the Sound Distillery this week.  Ryan has been listening, writing, and waiting for the moment to strike with the soulful fury of his big horns, and he did not disappoint.  Ryan will be playing baritone, tenor, and alto sax, and really putting the sex in sex drugs and rock ‘n roll.  We’re all looking forward to hearing the mixes with Ryan’s sassy, swampy sounds all over them.

Ryan doesn’t really get to let loose tracking parts in our little pop ditties, so if you want to hear him blow the roof off, check out his show at the Jazz Room in uptown Waterloo on May 1st, 2015.  He’ll be joined by a cast of hot local jazz players doing a mix of originals and standards.  Tears will be shed, toes will be tapped, babies will be made.

Here’s a taste:

Maestro Matt Sotnik

We first met Matt Sotnik through his band Ill Evans, where we heard him playing funk, jazz, hip hop, R&B and everything soulful.  Politely sitting behind the keyboard like the maestro that he is, when we needed somebody who knew their way around a keyboard, we called Matt right away.

After hammering all the funk and jazz out of his nimble fingers, he had the pain and anguish in his soul to jam out some awesome blues, rock, and country parts on piano, organ, and a lot of weird keyboards, I mean really weird.  You’ll be hearing lots of Matt on the new tracks as they appear.

Matt joined the band to play our first show at Maxwell’s Concerts and Events in Waterloo in January, 2015 (watch a clip),  and will be playing keyboard, piano, and organ on our upcoming CD release shows, details and dates coming soon.

Here are some pictures from Matt’s session.

Secret Sauce with Steve Wood

Now that we have entered the final phase of recording, we have the good fortune to work with some of the local session players who are putting the secret sauce on our bare-bones rock and roll sound.

Last week we had the amazing Steve Wood in the studio playing pedal steel on three of the tracks.  The grins on all of our stupid faces as Steve started to play were evidence enough that his sound was just what the songs needed.  Steve at one point asked “So on a scale from Danny Lanois to Buck Owens, how do you want this to sound.”  We knew we had the right guy for our record.

Thanks Steve!  Can’t wait to hear the tracks you put down in the final mixes!

Mike Elliot is in the house!

We had an idea for a sound and a vibe for a couple of the tracks we’re working on.  As we talked about the feel we were looking for, one name kept coming up: Mike Elliot.

Mike is a friend and a talented blues guitarist who has been rippin’ out some old-school tone in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for many years.  He came into the studio to lay down some lead lines with a collection of wicked tool 50s and 60s toy guitars and classic tube amps.  Mike’s blues feel, and the sweet retro tone, were just what we were looking for.  Here’s a few pics from Mike’s session this week.

New Year’s Update: Guitar Heaven and Hell

So after a short hiatus for festivus, we’re back in the studio working on the album.  We’ve entered guitar heaven/hell as we dig deep looking for the perfect tone for every track, then try for the perfect performance.

We’ve finally got the talented Mr. Will Abell in the studio putting a little secret sauce on everything.  With Will in the mix we have a truly gratuitous selection of guitars and amps to choose from.  Sometimes the choice leads to paralysis instead of perfection.

But despite this, we forge on and we make progress.  To see videos from the studio and hear little sneak previews of some of the tracks, make sure to check out the Dan Howler instagram:


And here are a few pics of the fun we’ve been having working on guitars at the Sound Distillery.

– Ian