Monday, September 12, 2016

Loudini Interviews Don DiLego

Since the release of his previous album, “Photographs of 1971,” Don DiLego has produced and released two EPs as Beautiful Small Machines with his long-time musical partner Bree Sharp (which included a guest appearance by Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon), penned a soundtrack to the feature film “Ranchero”, and helped co-write many of the songs that would appear on Jesse Malin’s “Love it To Life” album. During that same “interim” period, he also played on the Light of Day Tour in Europe, which traveled to over 10 countries sharing the stage with Malin, Marah, Willie Nile, and for a brief fleeting moment, even Bruce Springsteen.

At the beginning of 2010, Don joined Jesse Malin & the  St. Mark’s Social  and set out on the road with Gaslight Anthem and later Gogol Bordello to begin support of the new album. But soon the inspiration of new songs would begin to pour in, and after returning home, it was back to the writing process again at his wooded escape, Velvet Elk Studios. The “Western & Atlantic EP” was born of a week of isolation in a Portland recording studio called The Secret Society, with Don enlisting Colin Killilea (Yost/Pocketknife) and Marwan Kanafani (City Breathing) as multi-instrumentalists, Gregg Williams (Dandy Warhols, Sheryl Crow) on drums, and longtime songwriting partner and bassist Erik Olsen. The result is a what-you-hear-is what-you-get sort of affair, with everything being tracked live in a room…a highlight of which was an unlikely one-take cover of The Replacements “Here Comes a Regular.” Mixing was done in Charlottesville’s White Star Sound and at the Velvet Elk Studios. But what started out as one album, became two, and upon the release of the Atlantic & Western EP, Don is right back at work finishing the full-length “Magnificent Ram A”. Whereas “Western” is more along the lines of the eclectic soundscape that Don has become known for, “Magnificent Ram A” is it’s alienated older cousin. And so it goes.

Don has released three…check that…now four solo albums, the last of which was the well-received Photographs of 1971 (Velvet Elk Records), until his recent 2012 release of The Western & Atlantic EP on Velvet Elk Records. His first two albums, “The Lonestar Hitchhiker (Universal/Kingcuts)” and “The Lonestar Companion (Velvet Elk Records)” were also well-lauded for their retro-twang storytelling. He is currently producing the latest album from Jesse Malin and is also finishing up work on his own follow up, Magnificent Ram A.

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