by Lauren Rosier
If you’re a loyal and consistent music fan and Philly concert-goer, I’m sure you’ve heard of the indie folk trio, Good Old War. Dan Schwartz, the band’s guitarist, has been involved in the band since the beginning in 2008, and has always been known for his sick guitar skills.
At age eight, Schwartz began exploring playing guitar, and self-taught himself. “I taught myself from listening to tapes and I got hooked,” he explains. “I played bass for a while and I think that helped playing acoustic guitar. I would try to lay down a bass line and a melody at the same time.”
If you have ever attended a Good Old War show, you’ve witnessed his unbelievable guitar solos that are always a fan favorite. Danny Black, the moniker of Schwartz’s new side project, was created during a month-long break for Good Old War. Schwartz had some time and was debating on what he wanted to do with that time.
“I found myself with about a month to do what I wanted, something different… We [Schwartz and wife, Annie] live in our van and we like to do a lot of outdoor activities like rock climbing, hiking, etc. I could either hang out or do something creative,” Schwartz says. “I always have something going on. This is kind of a dream for me.”
Many of the fans that will be probably be fans of Good Old War or his previous project, Unlikely Cowboy, while some may have not heard of either band, and discovered Danny Black organically. The debut, titled Adventure Soundtrack, is an instrumental guitar record, something completely aside from what he’s doing with Good Old War.
Schwartz wants fans of Good Old War “to see where the crossover happens,” he began. “It’s interesting to hear one of the sides to what I’m bringing to the table with Good Old War. I think the people who are familiar with the band will recognize my melodies. The biggest challenge is to make an album that’s instrumental and something different.”
The entire recording process was something different and of an artistic nature for Schwartz. “The cool thing was, I was just held up in a house during the winter. It was freezing cold and nobody was around,” he reveals. “I would start working on an idea in the morning, demo the idea throughout the day, and practice the idea as much as I could. I’d record it and spend the next day practicing the idea.”
The cool thing about Adventure Soundtrack is how it has this impeccable ability to calm your mind and allow you to travel to new scenery, take in the sounds and smells, and encourage you to really appreciate the music and the outdoors.
“I really wanted to make something that was really real. I don’t believe a lot of records I hear, so I wanted to make something real,” Schwartz adds. The record was self-produced alongside producer Jason Cupp.
Each song has a specific guitar theme and features different guitars and equipment. “I used a lot of Caling 12-strings, Taylor guitars, a couple different kind of straps, my favorite 1967 Guild, a ukulele.”
While his influences include guitar virtuosos such as Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, King Crimson, Laurence Juber, William Tyler, and Tommy Emmanuel, Schwartz remains humble and says, “Basically there are people virtuosos, not saying that I’m at level. I really want to make music that entertains.”
Danny Black will be performing the new album this Friday, March 3rd at The MAAS Building in Northern Liberties.