a few more reviews

a few more reviews

concert review – solo

“Not easy to categorise; trad material presented with considerable classical skill on guitar and mountain dulcimer, but gently enhanced with technology.  One of his best tricks is to use a long echo and then play a duet with himself.  In other hands this would come over as an amusing gimmick – the effect from Dan is seriously musical.  In demand in the USA for workshops as well as performances, which may give you a hint of what to expect.

CAUTION: doesn’t show off. You only realise how good this man is after you’ve been listening a while and you realise you’ve been from trad to world to pop, through a bit of techno and home again in a sort of warm flowing stream.  CD’s good, too.”

Suggers, Bishops Stortford Folk Club, England


concert review – duo

“The feedback this morning was absolutely excellent with many folks reiterating what I said at the end of the concert – the performers we have seen have been absolutely excellent, talented and just simply nice people.  You have helped enhance our community concert programme no end!   I know you have won many friends at St Matthew’s who would like to see you again

Paul Warren, St Mattew’s church concerts, Rainham, Kent, England


festival review

“I think your performance Saturday evening was the best I’ve ever seen you do.  Our guests at the Chautauqua speak highly of you and I love to have you over.  I will have you back again.  You add so much to our event.  Some of our staff popped in for your teaching.  They were very impressed with your professionalism and effectiveness.  I always love having you in for a gig.  You’re such a fun guy to hang around with.“

Maureen Sellers, Director, Dulcimer Chautauqua On The Wabash festival, USA


festival review

“Loved having you Dan!  Next time you come to do the week, maybe you could stay over to do the weekend again. Your comments on the evaluation forms were wonderful and I know your students loved being with you.“

Nancy Barker, Director, Kentucky Music Week & Weekend festivals, USA


album review – A Waltz Through The Woods CD

“On his sixth CD ‘A Waltz Through The Woods’, Dan presents an eclectic mix of his own compositions along with traditional and more contemporary selections, ranging from ABBA, Tim Hardin to Sandy Denny.  With his own distinctive fingerpicking style, Dan blends together an evocative and expressive mix of Folk, Pop, Classical and Jazz.  He uses both acoustic and electric dulcimers with some subtle digital effects.  On two tracks he plays guitar.  Refreshingly (these days) Dan’s dulcimers have diatonic fretboards;  He doesn’t need any extra frets.  Using a variety of tunings he is able to find all the notes he needs while retaining the true sound of the dulcimer.

The sound quality and mix of this recording is outstanding.  The instruments and singing are crystal clear and feel alive.  Dan is backed beautifully by his regular accompanists: Rebecca Halworth on superb vocals and Andy Crowdy on double bass, guitar and percussion.  They are joined by Sharon Sullivan who adds some perfectly placed violin.

Dan sets the scene with a gorgeous instrumental version of Alan Bell’s ‘The Wind In The Willows’.  He has himself composed five outstanding instrumentals including the sublime ‘April Day’ and ‘Tumbling Skies’.  ‘Mary’ is a wonderful guitar piece composed and dedicated to his wife, to make up for all his musical absences!  The traditional ‘Banks Of The Lee’, beautifully played as a waltz, is another highlight.  The album closes with a favourite earworm of a tune ’Varsoviana’ AKA: ‘Father Halpins Topcoat’.  Many years ago I was lucky enough to see Dan perform this with Roger Nicolson.  

The marvellous cover artwork perfectly compliments its nature themed contents.  I thoroughly recommend this excellent album.  It most certainly left me with a warm comfortable feeling of having journeyed a nature-filled waltz through the woods.”

Paul Crocker, Nonsuch News, England


album review – Au Vieux Moulin CD

“This is Dan’s fifth and is a success from start to finish.  Recorded predominantly in Wellingborough with a sprinkling of tracks recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, this album showcases Dan’s skills on the mountain dulcimer.  It amazes me how such a simple instrument as the mountain dulcimer can be made to produce such beautiful sounds.  It only has three strings and two of them are tuned to the same note, for goodness sake!  Dan is ably supported by Andy Crowdy on guitar and bass with Rebecca Hallworth on vocals.  He is also joined on a couple of tracks by the American virtuoso Stephen Seifert.

I have been listening to this CD for a couple of weeks trying to make my mind up why I like it so much.  I’ve had it playing in the office, in the car and, while writing this review, on a train.  It has struck me that the arrangements of the tracks are simple and the tones of the instruments and voices are very clear.  The collection of tracks runs for forty five minutes and I find myself lost in an almost meditative state through whole album.

The album has a number of my favourite songs on it which always helps but to my mind you can’t get much better than Dan’s version of ‘Amazing Grace’.  The blend of Dan’s dulcimer, Rebecca’s voice and Andy’s guitar works perfectly.  I would also point you to ‘Bullet Train’ one of the instrumental tracks on the album.  It describes a modern Japanese train whooshing past medieval villages to its destination.  It has a Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells sound that I think is great.

I thoroughly recommend this album.”

Simon Bailes, Editor, Unicorn Magazine, England


album review – Autumn Dance CD

“This is Dan’s third full CD and compliments his previous albums Guardian Spirit (1993) and Spirit Dancing (1997).  This album features once again Dan’s amazing talents on electro-acoustic and acoustic guitars and Appalachian (or mountain) dulcimer, with support from Sylvia Seaton on violin, Martin Vishnick on classical guitar, Andy Crowdy on bass and John Ward on bodhran and harmonica.

There are seventeen tracks in all, a balanced mixture of instrumental and songs – many of the songs will be familiar to many, and it’s good to see ‘old favourites’ given a dusting down with a new and sensitive arrangement.  Here you will hear the likes of ‘Ellan Vannin Tragedy’, ‘The Water Is Wide’ and – a real challenge – Lennon/McCartney’s ‘Let It Be’ (with additional vocals from Ruth Cohen Rose).

Dan’s mastery of his instruments and the electronic effects he creates though sampling, coupled with his sensitive and modal accompaniments create a unique and distinctive melodic sound throughout this album.  Recording is quality is first class as one would expect and the album as a whole is superbly and professionally packaged.”

Theo Thomas, Unicorn Magazine, England