By Jason Sendaula
The power behind the music of Crow Vs Lion is local artist Dan Gallagher. This singer/songwriter, a self-taught guitar, banjo, bass, and mandolin player just released his debut solo album Rest Your Bones.
This labor of love was a long time in coming. “I’ve been playing live for about 6 years and I recorded random songs with different people. This summer I learned how to use GarageBand [music editing software] and I just took it from there,” says Gallagher. “I started out just seeing what I could do with it, recording some songs, and it turned into me creating a full album. I never got an interface [for recording into the computer] so I ended up recording all of my parts, the instruments and the vocals, through the microphone that is built into the MAC.”
He says such pseudo-engineering helps create the lo-fi sound he prides himself on.
“I put this album together at home any time I could. I got it done fairly quickly,” he says. “It’s something that I have always wanted to do because I have so many songs. It feels nice to finally put something down on record. This is a first attempt and I am pretty proud of it. Now I think I am going to focus on recording one or two albums a year.”
A lot of the feel that Dan was able to create was through the way the songs were put together. For the majority of the album Dan recorded the vocals, guitar and bass and sent them to a friend electronically.
“There are seven songs where I recorded the majority of my parts and then it became a collaborative,” Dan continues. “My good friend Josh Britton [of Psalmships], who I started out playing out with, added a lot of organs and a lot of sounds that are found within programs that you might use a keyboard to play. But all of the picking instruments I recorded myself.”
Being as proficient a musician as Dan is, one might think he got his start in music but it actually came to him later in life – and as a matter of fact, music wasn’t a thing for Gallagher until college. The singer/songwriter started out a fine artist and gradually made the turn.
“My sophomore year in college I picked up a guitar and I immediately started trying to write my own stuff,” he says. “It took a while to develop what I wanted to do. I would play songs from other people that I liked but initially it was like everything that I have ever done: I tried to create my own stuff first.
“I always have a goal of getting better and then bringing to the next level, challenging myself. In terms of writing songs, sometimes I will come up with a melody in the car and try and write it down at red lights – which isn’t the safest thing, I guess. Other times I would pick up the guitar and get some type of feeling off of it and go that route. There really is no set process.”
Even though Dan has never had a music lesson, his drive has helped him excel at his chosen art.
Gallagher says, “I always dug music but I was into the drawing and writing thing. When I was doing literary writing a lot of my material was in song form [Dan currently runs the literary magazine at Temple University’s Ambler Campus]. The rhyme all lent itself to making it easy to be a songwriter. I initially started with a friend of mine and we added a bongo player.”
Gallagher even had a full band at one point, but decided it’d be best to scale the whole thing down.
“I was going to start another band but I went back to school after a four-year hiatus,” says Gallagher. “I would like to start playing shows but it’s going to be a process: putting a band together takes a lot on time and work.”
Bringing the feeling of the album to the stage is next for Crow Vs Lion. The release show for Rest Your Bones will be at the Continental Tavern on April 16 in Yardley, PA.
The release show for Rest Your Bones will be at the Continental Tavern on April 16 in Yardley, PA.