Dan Johnson and the Expert Sidemen have released two studio albums. The first recording, “Sleep on the Way,” featured seven original songs, and was recorded at Bender Studios in Delmar, NY in fall 2012. The songs on this album ask questions about sense of place and what it means to travel region to region.
The latest recording, “Bound for Abiquiu,” was recorded live at Warming Room Studios in Albany, NY, on a Sunday morning. This album captures the live energy of the band, and instead of emphasizing instrumental parts focuses on rhythm and interactions. These ten songs are loosely bound by themes of imperfection and transformation.
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“But unlike too many Americana acts who attempt to earn the genre’s rustic charm with indelicate musicianship and haggard production, Dan Johnson and His Expert Sidemen treat the songs on their record with a gentleness and craft that the stories deserve.
“Whether telling the story of a Civil War soldier, singing away insomnia or channeling an invalid outlaw, Johnson renders his characters in plain-clothes language that will stick in your head on just a couple listens.
“Americana is meant to work in a timeless fashion, a goal that often comes off as nostalgic or pandering, but when done right, as Dan Johnson and the Expert Sidmen have managed here, familiar sounding songs bring seasoned focus to contemporary themes and contemporary sounds bring new perspective to tradition.”
(Josh Potter / Metroland)
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Dan Johnson and The Expert Sidemen’s Arlo Guthrie-esque story telling brings zydeco-influenced tracks such as “Baton Rouge” to life. Their roots often bleed through their music, but blends well, expressing a mesh of genres quick to satisfy the hunger of halcyon days.
(Avery Galek / Upstate Live)
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“[T]he way country music should sound, with lyrics on life’s laments and struggles, the sadness of these followed by the hope for better things around the corner.”
“Bound for Abiquiu is a perfect album for a sunny summer day or a drive to the Adirondacks or Southern Tier, while picking in the campgrounds at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival or casual listening to a classic country sound.”
(Pete Mason / Upstate Live)
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The music they play — written by Johnson — has been called North Country Americana. It doesn't take long to figure out why. The organic warmth counters an Adirondack coldness and loneliness. Produced by Johnson at Warming Room Studio in North Albany, this collection sounds like it was taped on a Warren County front porch or a campfire on Lake Desolation. It's classic bluegrass/folk juxtaposed by steel guitar drenched in reverb.
(David Malachowksi / Times Union)
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Johnson sings in a straightforward, unadorned fashion that recalls the earliest works of Uncle Tupelo-era Jay Farrar.
(Dan Bolles / 7Days)
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