'I can’t get up there and sing something that doesn’t move me,' says Dorothy Daniel, the tambourine-shaking, stargazing, breezy voiced front woman that makes up half of The Danberrys. Hailing from the surrounds of Nashville TN, Dorothy and husband Ben DeBerry (guitar/vocals) come together to create a unique entwining of styles. Acoustically driven, their sound spirals through bluegrass with the backbeat of funk, the patient lope of blues, and glimpses of pop.
Their latest album 'Give & Receive', was recorded at Zac Brown's Southern Ground studio in Nashville, TN and was released in June 2016. The album received two Independent Music Award nominations for Best Americana Album and Best Country Song (Let Me Ride), and one win for Best Bluegrass Song (Long Song).
The Danberrys sing songs rich in pastoral imagery, about overcoming demons, being washed clean and starting anew, and love in its many forms. In conversation with both Ben and Dorothy, spirituality, and the concept of blooming into the full power of your brain and heart are topics that often surface, naturally suffusing into their lyrics with clever subtlety - more hinting than hollering.
‘Give and Receive’, 2012’s self titled ‘The Danberrys’, and 2011’s ‘The Company Store’ feature a similar cast of musicians. All three harness the unique skills of producer/multi instrumentalist Ethan Ballinger (Lee Ann Womack, Missy Raines) and fiddle player Christian Sedelmeyer (Jerry Douglas,10 String Symphony), with bassist Sam Grisman (Lee Ann Womack, David Grisman) and banjoist Kyle Tuttle (Jeff Austin Band, Hayseed Dixie) coming in on ‘Give and Receive’.
Live, Dorothy is a fiend for the tambourine: ‘I locked myself in our music room for hours’ she says, describing her honing of the much overlooked instrument. Learning to play, she would follow the band Blue Mother Tupelo from gig to gig, gleaning techniques from Indianola-born Micol Davis and recordings of Dr John, the Meters, and Alan Toussaint.
Having embraced bluegrass in 2008 at The 5 Spot (bar in East Nashville) weekly bluegrass jam, Ben’s acoustic guitar playing is a lynchpin in the Danberrys sound. His solid playing and grasp of theory leads to interesting harmonic shifts - letting their music straddle and dip into the crannies between genres.
The Danberrys have appeared at many festivals throughout the Southeast – including the CMA Festival, the International Bluegrass Music Association festival, the Americana Music Festival and many more. In 2017, they will embark on their first international tours to the UK and New Zealand.
BY ROB ADAMS
BEN DeBerry has altogether too much fun at work. Between feeding the audience mischievous misinformation about song derivations and Southern States life, threatening to teach his wife, Dorothy Daniel, to read (she’s a fully qualified accountant, turned professional singer), and getting round the fretboard of his guitar with conspicuous musicality, the staff side of the Danberrys partnership makes it easy to settle down with the group in person.
It’s the musicality aspect that matters most, and the Danberrys in this configuration, with double bassist Geoff Henderson completing a very compact trio with DeBerry and Daniel, project it in no small quantity. Their songs have a smart, up-to-the-minute quality, even when reworking an aged nursery rhyme on Rain, and yet a large part of their attraction and strength lies in the traditions they draw on in varying degrees.
Jug bands, bluegrass, gospel and country music’s love affair with Fender Telecasters, here realised through DeBerry’s sure, expressive acoustic flatpicking, all feed into song arrangements that find Henderson and DeBerry creating a momentous groove under strong and close two- and sometimes three-part harmonies.
The groove got swampy behind Daniel’s beautifully clear singing of The Mountain and the combination of hard-edged guitar and bass riffing and committed singing gave the gospel-bluegrass-styled Working on a Building soulful power.
If Daniel, whose tambourine playing adds clearly defined percussive detail to the string-driven locomotion, never actually got round to explaining, as promised, the story behind Don’t Drink the Water, it mattered little. The message came through and there were tales, observations and leg-pulls enough over two thoroughly satisfying sets that deserved a bigger audience on an unusually quiet night for these Traverse Music Mondays.
BY ROB ADAMS
IT IS the kind of break that some of the characters on TV series Nashville might actually kill for: a gig at the Ryman Auditorium supporting top singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen to promote your first EP.
This was the scenario Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel – aka the Danberrys – found themselves in after being heard by a producer at 650 AM, the radio station that has hosted legendary country music programme the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman in Nashville for some ninety years.
And to add to the romance of the storyline, DeBerry and Daniel, unlike many musicians who are trying to make it in Music City, Tennessee, grew up in the Nashville area. In fact, DeBerry had appeared on the Ryman stage before, as a teenager, playing school guitar recitals, which takes a little bit of the gloss off the story. There is, however, some of the required bad luck and trouble in the Danberrys’ history too.
“Back in the early 1990s, the Ryman was going through a major renovation and wasn’t operating as a regular venue but my guitar teacher was good friends with the manager and he made it possible for me to play there,” says DeBerry. “It wasn’t quite the same as appearing on the Grand Ole Opry, but it was a thrill at the time and it was an even bigger thrill to appear at the Ryman as professionals, because it’s a sacred place for country music.”
DeBerry and Daniel met at college and dated for a while before going their separate ways. They’d sung in the same choirs before they met properly and DeBerry taught Daniel to play the guitar, but neither had ideas of taking up music as a career at the time.
Five years down the line they ran into each other again in a Nashville bar at around two in the morning. By then Daniel was working as an accountant in New York and DeBerry was doing contract work in a variety of jobs by day and playing gigs by night. Both had recently gone through relationship break-ups and when Deberry told Daniel she was the only one he wanted to be with, the spark was rekindled and they decided to get married.
During the time they were apart they’d both been writing songs and they started writing together. Just after Daniel moved back to Nashville from New York, however, she developed a problem with a nerve in her arm.
“I’d quit my job and I got quite bitter, to be honest,” says Daniel. “I couldn’t play the guitar and I went through a dark time when Ben literally had to haul me out of bed every morning. We’d moved to East Nashville, which is a really thriving musical community with a lot of energy, and this nerve problem was making me feel excluded. So eventually I went back to accounting. I didn’t even want to listen to music.”
Micol Davis, of the Nashville-based husband and wife team Blue Mother Tupelo, helped Daniel regain her appetite for music and suggested an alternative to playing the guitar that has become one of the Danberrys’ calling cards.
“Micol comes from Indianola, Mississippi and she has this funky, gospel feel in her music that I just fell in love with,” says Daniel. “She also plays tambourine and this turned out to be just what I needed. It was great therapy, both physically and mentally, and we started following Blue Mother Tupelo around so that I could learn what Micol was doing.”
While Daniel was making a study of the tambourine (she’s also looked into Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira’s technique), DeBerry hit a particularly strong seam of composition. He played these new songs to a sound engineer friend who offered to produce a professional recording for nothing, with the proviso that DeBerry and Daniel released it.
The aforementioned EP, Company Store, and the gig at the Ryman with Robert Earl Keen followed in 2010. Since then, the Danberrys have released two full-length albums and toured the US extensively, using Daniel’s accountancy qualifications and DeBerry’s various skills to organise tours and record releases entirely independently.
For their first trip outside of the US, which brings them to Scotland this weekend, they’ll be joined by Geoff Henderson, a bassist whose background in jazz and improvised music gives them the freedom to sing and play whatever they choose.
“There are some songs we’ve recorded that we can’t perform as a duo but Geoff brings this adaptability and strength in his playing that means we can just concentrate on what we’re doing and know that he’ll be right there with us,” says Daniel. “That gig at the Ryman and everything else that’s followed has shown us that the problems I had with my arm have turned out to be a good thing in a way.”
The Danberrys play Catstrand, New Galloway on Saturday, and go on to Irvine (Sunday), Edinburgh (June 19), Kilbarchan (20), Glasgow (21), Kirkcaldy (22), Findhorn (23), Strathdon (24), and Aberdeen (25).
Long Song from The Danberrys album Give and Receive has been named Best Bluegrass Song at the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards.
BY CRAIG HAVIGHURST
Ben DeBerry, the guitar-slinging dude half of The Danberrys, brought his old and loved copy of String Wizards to the show so that John McEuen, the man who made it in 1991, could sign it. Not only did Ben get that autograph backstage at this week’s MCR, he got a spontaneous invitation to join John on stage for a blues jam during his set. That’s how it goes in Roots world, where as I mentioned in my preview for this week, acolytes become teachers and pass it on, whether by way of stories from the road, instrumental tips or performance opportunities. It’s the Americana way.
There were plenty of string wizards on hand on Wednesday night, but John also has an album called Acoustic Traveller and that felt like an appropriate take on the show as well, as it featured no drums or electric instruments at all. But travelers for sure. Opening band the Forlorn Strangers have done, they said, about 18 months of touring with their fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass and mandolin. And it showed, with tight musicianship and songs that caught me on first listen. The rustic opener “Sugar Cane” took long draughts on the fiddle and dobro against a bluesy stomp. Abigail Dempsey took a striking lead vocal on the ballad “The Light.” In fact I think we may have heard five lead vocals by five different songwriters from a five-piece band here, and that’s impressive. Closer “Bottom Of The Barrel” is super-fun and breezy on the surface with a deep message that creeps in as you sway along. Hats off to this sparkling young band for getting so much so right in such a short amount of time.
Free The Honey visited us from far-away Gunnison, Colorado where the elevation (7,700 feet) is higher than the population (5,800) and where the air is right for acoustic folk experimentation. The trio (plus bass player) has found a sweet spot between old time and classical that’s rich with nuance and subtlety. Opener “Something About Fall” was like mountain chamber music with bowed bass and moving twin fiddle parts. The vocals started up with Katherine Taylor singing in a minor key about “Goin’ To New Orleans.” “No Longer Bound” was a pure a cappella number with finger snaps and shakers, showing loads of sweet soul. Even stronger was the closer “In This World” where each musician took a lead verse over spare acoustic bass, joining on the lush choruses. Lovely stuff.
The Danberrys are a reliable acoustic groove experience and they were especially tight and on top of things this week, with stunningly funky Vanessa McGowan on upright bass and lanky Kyle Tuttle on banjo. The support was just right for the voices of Ben and Dorothy, not to mention Ben’s impeccable flatpicking riffs. “Let Me Ride” was one of their smoother numbers, with a cool rhythmic catch in it. The solos and the quiet instrumental breakdown in “Working On A Building” were riveting. I generally praise Dorothy for her vocals and she was indeed moody and soulful as ever, but I think my favorite tune of the night was “Rain” with Ben singing lead. It had a really cool droning quality with a rhythmic sparkle and shake. They closed with Dorothy’s lead on their classic “Come Give It,” which this evening had a Grateful Dead vibe.
Mr. McEuen took the stage with his banjo and his long time musical companion Matt Cartsonis, who played guitar and mandolin and who sang old standards like “Blue Ridge Cabin Home” and less trad numbers like the set opener, Warren Zevon’s very country “Dirty Life And Times.” McEuen told a gut busting story about being invited to perform at the funeral of the man who voiced Mickey Mouse. Then Matt got some help on the crooning and lovely “Travelin’ Moon” as the night’s female performers came up to sing harmony vocals behind him. Ben DeBerry made his guest appearance with his guitar on “Fingerbuster.” No fingers were harmed.
I don’t know if it was planned or not, but Jim Lauderdale’s Nashville Jam segued from “I Saw The Light” to a swinging version of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” as the night came to an end. And our tireless an intrepid acoustic travelers all packed their stringed instruments up and headed out toward their next show.
BY JULIAN PIPER
It would be easy to dismiss the Danberrys as yet another duo from the vast wellspring of talent that is East Nashville. But it doesn't take much listening to understand why, in 2013, their last album won them a nomination for Best Americana album. Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel come up with some truly great songs, transcending their quicksilver influences – country, pop and country – into a wonderfully fresh-sounding roots stew. Ben gets to throw in a country stomp, Dorothy sings her folky 'Lady Belle', and the pair share vocals on the soulful 'We'll Be Done'. It's all familiar stuff, but you'll never see the join.
The Danberrys have been nominated in THREE categories in The 15th Annual Independent Music Awards:
Winners of the music industry judged awards are to be named in November 2016.
BY JON WEISBERGER
AmericanaFest is kicking off in Nashville — but even before the festivities really get going, folks can get a diverse taste of Americana at Exit/In. Presented by The Danberrys, whose album Give and Receive hit the streets just weeks ago, the show nods mostly at the acoustic side of the format. Jenni Lyn of Della Mae is the most likely candidate to wave the bluegrass flag, and Robby Hecht’s the most likely standard-bearer for the more electrified among Americana’s singer-songwriters, but all of the artists involved share an interest in — and knowledge of — the stew of durable influences that underpin the bluegrass format. From Lindsay Lou’s languid invocation of great jazz singers to Caroline Spence’s sharp take on folk-country forms, this is a bill that pays attention to not only the superficial elements of those influences, but to their deepest attributes. It’s a great way to start off the week.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
There is something to be said for the tighter bonds that marriage often brings. Likewise, there’s something to be said for the talent that seems inherent within the bounds of Tennessee. The Danberrys bring both. Nashville residents and husband and wife Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel have known each other since they were teenagers, and their musical symmetry reflects the results of a long-term relationship. Drawing from a broad palette that incorporates bluegrass, balladry, contemporary country and the broad sweep of engaging Americana, their third album Give & Receive is rich in tone and texture, not to mention soothing, supple and effortlessly accessible. The songs themselves attest to that conclusion, as bookended by the soft, subdued harmonies of album opener “Receive” and the slow, solemn closer “We’ll Be Done,” and further enhanced by the haunting “Lady Belle,” the sultry “Don’t Drink the Water” and the riveting hoedown “Long Song,” all of which fall in-between. Granted, the Danberrys rarely opt for flash or frenzy, but their honest intentions deliver far more satisfaction than any pomp or pretense possibly could. They give. We receive. It’s an ideal combination.
What inspires my songwriting? Moods, feelings, interpersonal interactions, nature...I never seem to know what will inspire the next one. I'm a guitar player from Nashville and happen to be in a band with my wife Dorothy. We got our start when we both decided to begin recording our songs. It was quite a happy accident. Our songs draw from a multitude of American roots music from the past and present. There's no real rhyme or reason to the focus of the songs, with some beng serious and some being more light-hearted. Our new album 'Give and Receive' was recorded at Southern Ground in Nashville, where the vibe is perfect and the instrument selection is divine. I got to play an old Martin owned by Townes Van Zandt on my song 'Get Back Home'. Currently my favorite track is 'Lady Belle', written by Dorothy. It really draws me into its lush sounds and darkish mood. The meaning is probably different to every listener, but a Lady Belle is a beautiful weed that is mistakenly planted in gardens only to take them over. I write all of my songs on acoustic guitars. A lot of them seem to spring out of thin air. Other times they come from riffs or chord progressions that have been lingering about for extended periods of time. I currently play a Larrivee OM-03 with a LR Baggs iMix pickup - I love the smaller size, and it sounds fantastic plugged in. I've been playing it for about two years now, and it's my favourite performing guitar. I pick about 90 percent of songs and fingerpick the rest. I run through a Fishman acoustic delay pedal with a tap tempo, and straight into a Fishman Performer acoustic amplifier. I send my signal to front of house via the post output, which gives me more control over my sound. Future plans? Touring in support of our new album and writing and recording for the next one.
BY ALLAN WILKINSON
The new offering by The Danberrys is one of those Americana albums that brings instant gratification; great songs, great arrangements, great musicianship, great performances. The ten songs are immediately accessible and cover a deep well of influence from the worlds of rock and blues to bluegrass and country. The East Nashville-based duo at the core of the band are Ben Deberry and Dorothy Daniel, whose relationship goes back to high school where the two met as teenagers. Now married for ten years, the duo's musical bond is just as close, evident in every note on this album. Drawing from Dorothy's grounding in soul and blues together with Ben's love of bluegrass, rock and country, the magical sparks that began to fly on the duo's previous releases, the COMPANY STORE EP (2011), their self-titled debut full-length release in 2013 and now on GIVE AND RECEIVE, are in no hurry to burn out or fade. Produced by Ethan Ballinger, the album's notable songs include the bluesy, gospel-tinged Don't Drink the Water, which sees the duo emote deliciously throughout, Dorothy's assured performance on her own Lady Belle and the all-out bluegrass romp of Long Song, complete with possibly the longest count-off in the history of bluegrass.
BY ANDREW DARLINGTON
Is the word 'biopic' pronounced as myopic, or as biographical picture? Whatever - the travelling Danberrys' story is a gift. The Tennessee high-school childhood sweethearts who go their separate ways, but are drawn back together by musical gravity waves. And the power is undeniable. Now married, like siblings, their harmonies are tightasthis. Ben writes, Dorothy writes, or they write together - the sweetest harmonies you ever heard this side of The Everly Brothers or Gram and Emmylou, over the smoothest unobtrusive bluegrass instrumentation.
Her voice soars like the cover-art white bird, achingly old-timey traditional yet contemporary Americana in the way that purity always shines. Her 'Don't Drink the Water' is so dry-earth honest its roots-rawness stings, while 'Life Worth Living' is stark, pared-back to just the sincerity of her voice, and thumping percussion. His voice is more playful on the hoedowny 'Long Song' - the love song he wants to write for her if only he had a pencil, or a phone.
Following a 2011 EP and self-titled debut LP, these ten songs, at a deliciously concise thirty-seven minutes, never overstay their welcome, and leave you wanting more. The biopic may or may not follow.
(Other Music for Urban Gourmandizers)
THE DANBERRYS ALBUM RELEASE
FEAT. KYLE TUTTLE & THE CARMONAS
BY: STEPHEN TRAGESER
You see it time and time again: Eager up-and-coming artists with chops to spare put everything they have into paying homage to their influences, and fail to develop their own voice in the process. The Danberrys' Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry have steered well clear of that trap. Their new album Give and Receive sees them and a band of ringers - group members rotate in and out, but they're always top-shelf - pulling apart bluegrass, blues and other related traditions and putting them back together in ways that feel fresh and unique, but still totally familiar. They recorded with Brandon Bell at Zac Brown's Southern Ground studio, and the resulting tracks are gentle, rich and touched with some of the finest singing you'll hear anywhere. Hear it in person at Friday's release gig, with support from Kyle Tuttle and The Carmonas. 9 p.m. at The Basement
BY MIKE MORRISON
I must admit that whilst listening to the first couple of tracks for the first time, the lovely harmonies and mellow sound didn't appeal to me all that much although I thought it was beautifully recorded and performed but felt it would not prove particularly memorable, at least to me. It just proves yet again that you need to give an album a chance because as things progressed I became more and more impressed and realized that beautiful soft vocals and a mellow sound is only a small, but significant, part of this recording that has far more depth and all round 'edginess' than I first thought. Certainly there is much that is mellow, but the songwriting is excellent and the arrangements are incredibly diverse and varied, to such a degree that the listener can't really pick out what could be a Danberrys signature sound.
They are the duo of Dorothy Daniel on lead and harmony vocals, Ben DeBerry, lead and harmony vocals and guitar, with multi instrumentalist and producer Ethan Ballinger playing mandolin, mandola, 12 string guitar, acoustic guitar, background vocals, rhodes, organ and much else besides! Christian Sedelmyer played fiddle on many of the tracks, with contributions from several other talented musicians who all helped to add colour to this excellent recording of ten beautifully written songs. All were penned by the Danberrys, with two being co-writes, six solely by Dorothy and two by Ben. It was recorded and mixed at Southern Ground Studio, Nashville by Brandon Bell with production duties handled by band member Ethan Ballinger.
Dorothy has a beautiful voice that is as capable of producing a haunting fieriness as it is beautiful mellow tones and with the ability to not only emote the sounds but also to engender an emotional depth that must be the envy of many singers, on this, their second full length recording following on from an early e.p. Ben also has an excellent voice that in most bands would take the lead but when put up against Dorothys quite exquisite haunting vocals most vocalists would be put in the shade.
There is a beautiful manipulative vocal from Dorothy on Lady Belle, a gentle folksy song that has a jazzy leaning and flows serenely along with a cleverly thought out instrumentation on a song that the more I hear it the more I'm reminded of 'Clannad.' Long song is a much more driven song, with Ben on lead vocal with banjo, bass, percussion and fiddle on a composition that has a strong 'old timey' feel that veers towards bluegrass but thankfully avoids the histrionics often associated with the genre. There are some lovely harmonies from Dorothy on a beautifully arranged and performed song that has more depth than many in the same stylistic field. There is a nice slow chugging guitar sound that builds an excellent atmosphere on Don't drink the water, eventually joined by Dorothy's haunting vocal on a powerful tale that has a little darkness in its makeup. It is a lyrically repetitious song, but that is what enables the power and variety of the flowing instrumentation free rein as it evolves and gently changes the depth of the atmosphere. Life worth living kicks off with a strong percussive beat soon joined by Dorothy's soulful gospel influenced vocal on a powerful haunting song, with just the percussion and haunting male harmonies for support. That is immediately followed by another beautiful vocal performance from Dorothy on All the way up, with excellent harmonies from Ben and Ethan on a tale that has great depth and an instrumentation that not only adds to the depth but creates a dark flowing atmosphere as it builds and falls.
If I had to criticize this excellent recording it would be to say that the first two or three songs could have been spread across the album because certainly my first impression of them holds fast and doesn't give a true picture of what is to follow. On the other hand; and there always has to be one; perhaps the idea was to lull the listener and create a surprise element as the album progresses. If so, they have succeeded in that. I'm still amazed at the variety of textures and the emotional depth of many of the songs on this tremendous album. I've already voiced my early concerns but this album gradually builds more and more appeal with its variety of sounds, textures and emotions pretty much making those concerns superfluous, in fact they serve to emphasize the fluidity and diversity contained on this excellent recording.
BY PAUL MCGEE
Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel are from East Nashville, Tennessee and have been influenced by the traditions of bluegrass, old-time country, blues, and soul music. They have very distinct vocal harmonies and their first recording Company Store, was released in April 2011, followed in 2013 by The Danberrys.
Their latest album Give & Receive was produced by Ethan Ballinger (Lee Ann Womack, Tim O’Brien) at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville and these ten songs provide a musical landscape that reveals a broad range of moods and sounds, reflecting the continued growth of these two artists who wrote all the music & words included here.
Receive has fine vocal harmonies with mandolin and fiddle interplay giving the song arrangement a gentle laid-back feel. Indeed this sense of timeless music is repeated across the ten tracks with a strong presence from producer/musician Ethan Ballinger on mandolin, a variety of guitars, bazouki, banjo,organ, piano, wurlitzer & percussion. With subtle fiddle on most of the tracks supplied by Christian Sedelmyer and the steady bass playing of Sam Grisman, the project delivers an overall sense of real quality and restrained mood.
The bluegrass sound of Long Song is followed by the slow moody groove of Don’t Drink the Water. Let Me Go visits the subject of escaping a suffocating relationship and Life Worth Living visits the urge to seek real meaning in our lives. We’ll Be Done highlights the superb vocal talent of Dorothy Daniel and brings proceedings to a very satisfactory conclusion on a sea of sweet melody. Recommended.
BY BRENDA HILLEGAS
If you have listened to the Danberrys’ recent release, Give and Receive, then you already know that Dorothy Daniel has quite the voice. But for anyone who may not have heard this East Nashville duo yet, the video for “All the Way Up” below will further prove that Daniel is one of the best vocalists in that town. She could sing just about anything with ease, but the bluegrass, classic country, blues, and Southern soul that make up the Danberrys is clearly what she was meant to do.
Daniel and musical partner/husband Ben DeBerry have known one another since they were teenagers. This comes through in their music. By watching this no-frills, studio version of “All the Way Up”, you can clearly see what makes the duo so special. Their vocals and instrumentals are familiar and comfortable in all the right ways; they shine via their beautiful souls and honest, lovely lyrics. Daniel says of the song:
“‘All the Way Up’ is a song about the magical qualities of life…the beautiful, playful, loving, unconditionally inclusive potential that resides in every living heart. It’s a moment in time captured by the eyes of an innocent child.” – Dorothy Daniel
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmL77Myb19s
BY MIKE DAVIES
The Danberrys are a Tennessee-born husband and wife duo, Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel were a teenage item, went their separate ways, and then reconnected to start making music together, a meeting of their individual interests in bluegrass, country, soul and blues. Give & Receive is their third release, the debut EP and previous album both picking up an assortment of nominations and prizes. I see no reason why this shouldn’t add to the trophy shelf.
One of two co-written numbers, the almost hymnal Receive sets the ball rolling in early Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings mode, their voiced duetting over acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bass, the second of the collaborations coming with Let Me Ride’s slightly rockier roots rhythm as its heads for grace and glory. Of the other tracks, Daniels takes the lion’s share of the credits, her first being the trad folk influenced Lady Belle, DeBerry’s guitar interleaving with that of producer Ethan Ballinger, while her other half makes his bow and takes lead with the fiddle and banjo bluegrass stomping Long Song.
Daniels dominates for the following four numbers, the first being Don’t Drink The Water’s scratchy guitar-based five minute dry, bluesy percussive prowl with its slow march handclaps and religious imagery, immediately contrasted with the folksier Let Me Go; search for salvation with just acoustic guitars backdropping her soaring, pure vocals.
This, in turn, gives way to another shift in tone with Life Worth Living, the only instrumentation being dry shaker percussion and a minimal drum beat giving its working man’s lamentation a tribal rhythm while Ballinger and DeBerry’s voices hover around Daniel’s plantation-style delivery.
Introducing organ to proceedings, All The Way Up is a dreamy ebb and flow affair that conjures thoughts of Stevie Nicks in her soulful cosmic desert haze, while there’s also Wurltizer to be found, along with mandola and piano, on DeBerry’s remaining writing and lead vocal credit, Get Back Home, a laid back, banjo-burbling mountain cabin number. All of which leaves Daniels to close up shop with the aptly titled We’ll Be Done, a low key, five minute reflective song about rebirth and revival that sets consuming fire against cleansing water, Daniels singing how “nothing ever touched by soul is lost to flame” as the track builds to a lengthy choral outro. They say it’s better to give than receive, but this is their gift and you should accept it with open ears.
Give & Receive is out now
BY DANNY MCCLOSKEY
The Danberrys (from the album Give and Receive) - The Give and Receive on the recent album release from The Danberrys can trace a line from the band couple to their musical influences. The musical memories of Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry spin Old Time music with funk, Country and Bluegrass traditions with Soul in songs as The Danberrys. The Tennessee-born, East Nashville[based musical couple take a pull from a scratchy beat as they solemnly trudge through “Life Worth Living”. Give and Receive climbs “All the Way Up” on gentle notes for the tiny hands reaching out in the story line as “Long Song” reels out onto the dance floor and “Let Me Ride” floats to the west on a highway prayer. The Danberrys meet in harmony, backing their songs with an Americana melting pot of sound that desperately begs (“Let Me Go”), tries to keep from sinking (“Don’t Drink the Water”), and closes the door on Give and Receive with the goodbyes of “We’ll Be Done”.
BY GENO THACKARA
Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry sure sound like they have a good life. Sharing an almost lifelong history, happily married for a decade, able to travel and explore the music they love, they’re willing to put their whole lives into what they do and the music shows it. It’s a mix of classic Americana full of laughter and moonshine, taking the back roads from the heartland prairie to the delta swamps.
That background lends a little extra depth to lines like “I want to spend all my days singing with you,” but you don’t have to read their bio to hear the chemistry at work. In the rootsiest folk tradition, these are simple and sometimes eloquent offerings that celebrate the good things in life while recognizing and accepting the sadness too. A couple pieces could have used more fleshing out (the quick low-country chant of “Life Worth Living” sounds like a loose sketch that never got developed), but most are already lived-in enough to have you feeling road dust in your shoes and catching a whiff of fresh cornbread.
Daniel’s clear singing voice is a selling point by itself, though it’s the whole mix that gives Give & Receive some real staying power – soothing harmonies, guitar or mandolin strums, banjo picking and down-home fiddle all make for a rustic soulful tone somewhere between old-fashioned and timeless. Even so, it wouldn’t go down nearly so well if the performances weren’t so clearly heartfelt. From lively bluegrass to barn-dance country or simple soul, it’s all familiar, comforting and most of all, real.
BY MATT ALPERT
Vocal partners who are romantic partners tend to make unforgettable harmonies, especially within country music. There’s just something about a shared, intimate connection that lends itself to this style.
You’ll hear that intimate quality in the music of The Danberrys, a rising Americana band from East Nashville. The core of the band, singers Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel, have been married for 10 years. Each singer brings different influences from bluegrass, folk, and country to their music, which creates a blend that’s reminiscent of Americana luminaries Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.
Today we’re premiering a video for “Receive,” a track featured on their upcoming album Give & Recieve, out June 17. Filmed in a recording studio, the video showcases the harmonies of Danberry and Daniel and captures the masterful dynamics of the band.
“Receive is a song about the process of change and creating new patterns in our lives,” said DeBerry. “It’s about realizing when old beliefs aren’t working anymore & making the necessary internal adjustments to change our perception of our relationships with others and with life.”
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aP7vsri94Q
BY PAUL KERR
Seems a long time since we heard from The Danberrys, almost three years to the day actually when Blabber’n’Smoke reviewed their second self titled album which was nominated in the Best Americana Album category in 2013’s Independent Music Awards. On this follow-up, married couple Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel add another ten songs that run the gamut from bluegrassy hoedowns and crystal clear folk songs to rhythmic recollections of the past with some dark undertones.
As on the last album they’re ably assisted by Ethan Ballinger (mandolin, guitar, keyboards and cigar box) and Christian Sedelmayer (fiddle) while bass is provided by Sam Grisman and Kyle Tuttle offers occasional banjo. An impressive combo they play wonderfully with a gossamer like touch on some of the songs but they’re also able to dig in and plough a fertile rootsy loam.
The album starts well with the combined vocals of DeBerry and Daniel over a solitary guitar on Receive, their voices recalling country duets from the past with a slight devotional touch. Gentle backing from fiddle and mandolin then adds to the sense of voices from the past. Lady Belle allows full rein to Daniel’s voice on a song which ripples with a shivering delight as the band expertly deliver a subtle Celtic folk sound that nods to artists such as Sandy Denny and Shelagh McDonald. Let Me Ride is in a similar vein although there’s more of a skip in its step here along with a fine chorus, the ensemble playing quite superb. DeBerry steps up to the mic for the rousing bluegrass knockabout of Long Song which allows Ballinger, Tuttle and Sedelmeyer space to solo and spar with each other but thereafter the album grows somewhat darker and deeper.
Don’t Drink The Water is a menacing percussive piece with a chain gang drive, sinewy guitar and hand claps recalling slave memories. Sedelmayer’s fierce fiddle interludes add to the menace here while Daniel’s voice is powerful and emotive. Similarly Life Worth Living harks to the past with only a percussive beat backing the vocals on a song which brings to mind Rhiannon Giddens’ excavation of plantation songs, the reek of the old South strong here. The album ends with a powerful trio of songs. All The Way Up is a magnificently dynamic song, the band ebbing and flowing wonderfully behind Daniel’s impassioned vocal. Get Back Home offers DeBerry the opportunity to show that can create a mood as well as his other half, his vocals here as comfortable as a back porch settee on a song that rings as clear as a mountain stream with heavenly harmonies and some gorgeous playing from the band. We’ll Be Done closes the album on a strong note as Daniel is reflective, singing of rebirth over a gently tinkling backdrop which slowly swells into an ethereal chorus as the band play a lengthy outro. Wonderful stuff.
BY ALEX GALLACHER
The Danberrys full band shows in Nashville created such a buzz that other musicians began to appear at the back of the room to check out what all the fuss was about. In that town, it’s always a sign that there’s something real good happening.
Of course, at the heart of The Danberrys is the Tennessee-born couple of Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel – a meant-to-be-together pairing from East Nashville. Since teaming up, they had already caused pulses to race and hearts to flutter with their rock-solid duo performances. Drawing deep from the traditions of bluegrass, old-time country, blues, and funk/soul, the song-writing and delivery is powered by raw emotion, great vocal harmonies, and dynamic musicianship.
The couple’s musical magic springs from a relationship that started when they were just teenagers. They dated in high school, and eventually went their separate ways – until fate played its hand one day in Cookeville, Tenn. In their years apart, Dorothy had created a sound for herself that inspired Ben, and soon, they re-connected and began gaining attention for all the right reasons. Dorothy, a devotee of soul and blues music offered an interesting pairing for Ben’s love of bluegrass, rock and country and they found middle ground – their common interest in folk music.
Now, after nearly ten years of marriage, they bring to their artistry a humble sense of wonder and emotional sincerity rooted in a relationship that has always been strong even when they’ve been apart.
Their first record, Company Store, was released in April 2011 and won the People’s Choice Independent Music Award for Best EP, securing them a prized slot at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Spurred on by the success of that release, in 2013, their follow-up album, The Danberrys, won them two additional Independent Music Award nominations for Best Americana Album and Best Alt. Country Song.
This new album, Give & Receive, was produced by Ethan Ballinger (Lee Ann Womack, Tim O’Brien) at Nashville’s Southern Ground Studios (Zac Brown, The Wood Brothers, Foo Fighters). The ten original songs on this offering provide a passageway and safe haven for the engaged listener to explore emotions that are universally felt.
The musical landscape of this album reveals a broader palette of moods and sounds than existed on previous recordings, reflecting the natural growth and development of two souls on a truly courageous and honest journey.
Give & Receive is released in the UK on June 17th.
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLiWjDixM0w
BY ROB ROSS
Something to sink my teeth into, rich with acoustic guitars, mandolins, violins and shiver-inducing harmonies. Although The Danberrys, who hail from East Nashville, are a band, the two main drivers are Ben Deberry on guitar and vocals and Dorothy Daniel on vocals. The two have one of the sweetest blendings of voices and these songs are ripe with melody, emotion and pure, American soul. This album, their fourth release, is one fine slice of Americana.
Starting with “Receive”, the slow, mournful nature of the song actually turns into one of hope and uplift; the use of fiddle and subtle mandolin gives a greater dramatic feel along with the simply gorgeous harmony; “Lady Belle” is an acoustic tour-de-force with Ms. Daniel’s vocals gripping and fluid and “Long Song” is a deep country piece, raging with banjo, fiddle, mandolin and a galloping rhythm that walks straight out of the Bill Monroe school of bluegrass. “Let Me Go” is stripped down to just two guitars and Dorothy Daniel’s echo-y and mesmerizing vocals; “Get Back Home” is possibly the album’s highlight (there are several standouts) but this one builds slowly with tension and then grows into a full canvas of sound with the layering of the instruments and “We’ll Be Done” is quiet, thoughtful and closes the album in a low-key and apt manner.
This is one of those albums that will be a regular re-visit; it’s not hard to understand why. The quality of the performances; the vocals and the subdued nature of the collection is appealing regardless of what frame of mind you may be in. Give & Receive will either make you think or soothe your mind.
Give & Receive will be released on Friday, June 17th, 2016
BY DAVID INNES
From Tennessee, husband and wife Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel have hit an impressive stride on Give & Receive. Their range of stated influences are a sure sign that almost every area of contemporary western music gets a look in over the ten tracks of this, their third release.
Ben’s passion for bluegrass and country is obvious. ‘Receive’ is mellow country, all finely-pitched harmonies and mini-crescendos, and ‘Long Song’ is a rollicking country blues with prominent banjo and a delightful dexterity to the solos on mandolin and fiddle. The skipping rhythm, percussive mandolin, booming bass and fiddle of ‘Let Me Ride’, however, sees Dorothy pitch an aching vocal on top, climaxing with a determined, but resigned, "Gonna pack my bags and head for grace and glory".
Dorothy is “a devotee of soul and blues” and it’s no coincidence that her input to Give & Receive coincide with songs of power and - often melancholy - huge emotion. Whilst ‘Lady Belle’ has a traditional ballad feel, the in-song surges driven by bass and Ben’s harmony might have come from Muscle Shoals.
‘Life Worth Living’ is pretty stark with only John Radford’s percussion almost a click track to guide the harmony voices of Ben, Dorothy and Ethan Ballinger, but it’s the rhythmic companion piece to the high point of Give & Receive, ‘Don't Drink The Water’. This was a 2012 single, brooding and shuffling, full of funk and foreboding, like an unplugged Little Feat, whilst its nagging melodic hook almost conversely defies its Delta chain gang feel.
With excellent support throughout from multi-instrumentalist Ballinger, Sam Grisman, Kyle Tuttle and Christian Sedelmyer, it’s no wonder that The Danberrys are regarded highly by fans and fellow musicians in Nashville.
BY TOM FRANKS
Listening to The Danberrys is always a cathartic experience. The rich warmth of the vocals and harmonies, intricate weave of instrumentation coupled with a blend of tradition and innovation founded on a mix of the danberrys album coverblues, touches of gospel, an edge of old time, country folk and bluegrass simply ease your mind and take away your cares. Their new release ‘Give & Receive’ hits the streets on June 17 and is chock full of emotive, expressive and meaningful songs. The feeling of well-being listening to this album is so profound it should be offered as medication to counteract the pressure of this world.
The Danberrys are Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel, who together deliver ten originals on this album that engage easily and absorb wholly. The lead track ‘Receive’ immeidately seizes your attention and thereafter songs such as ‘Lady Belle’, ‘Long Song’, ‘Don't Drink the Water’ and ‘Life Worth Living’ slide in with a luscious smoothness that is simply engrossing. ‘Give & Receive’ is an album you really ought to own – it will do you good.
Artist: The Danberrys
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Song: "Life Worth Living"
Album: Give & Receive
Release Date: June 17
In Their Words: "'Life Worth Living' was written during a time when I was making the long and difficult journey out of darkness. I was trying to connect with the strength and courage of all the souls who have ever endured the unbearable, and found beauty and love and joy in the midst of experiencing truly devastating heartbreak. This voice in my head kept saying, 'Turn your face toward the sun.'" -- Dorothy Daniel
BY FRANK GUTCH JR.
This album is way too short, but I don't mind. I just found out they have two more albums I can peruse and you can bet I will. What I want to know is how bands like this can slip past me. I am diligent if nothing else and if I had had the hint of The Danberrys lurking in the shadows I would have made the jump. Happily. But I didn't. I am not complaining. I'm just saying.
If there was to be an introduction to the band I am glad it was on a drive. Seems like I listen best when driving. I discovered Zoe Muth on a drive, and Craig Elkins (of Huffamoose fame), and The Beige (bet I got most everyone on that one--- you have to trust me, finding The Beige was well worth the drive). For a short time, in fact, I took drives just to listen to music and this in spite of the price of gas. I promised myself, in fact, to listen to whichever album to grace the CD player all the way through. Zoe Muth lasted an entire drive to the Oregon Coast and back--- four and a half listens.
The Danberrys did not last four listens only because the drive was short. The drive to town to pick up a few items and the short drive home. One time through, the last track of Give & Receive fading as I entered the driveway. It was a felicitous ending to the music experience, as I headed into the house to plug it into the stereo system and give it the proper christening--- three more listens.
One wasn't enough. Although I had listened all the way through, it wasn't enough. I felt cheated. I did. And there was no reason for it. They gave me 35+ minutes of music--- outstanding music, in fact--- yet it wasn't enough. Not hardly enough. For instance, “Don't Drink the Water.” Five minutes and twenty-four seconds of rhythmic excellence and I wanted at least that much again. The song flowed, the handclaps and rhythm section laid bedrock smooth, the instruments almost undulant, Dorothy Daniel's voice in perfect pitch, and the bridge a dream. “Lady Belle,” almost trad folk, the sound reminiscent of the Sandy Denny era and a true gem of instrumentation, thanks to the interplay of guitars (Ben DeBerry plays immaculate lead on the acoustic) and the superb bass (and I mean superb!) of Sam Grisman, which I realize is totally unfair to the rest of the musicians on the album. They are absolutely topnotch--- Ethan Ballinger (who also produced) on mandolin and a string of other instruments, Christian Sedelmeyer on fiddle. “Receive” folk with the ghost of gospel. “Let Me Go” a perfect example of modern folk and a vehicle for Dorothy Daniel's resplendent voice, at its best when it is soaring.
What makes The Danberrys a step above--- well, besides their first-rate songwriting, musicianship and cohesiveness--- is their diversity. With all of the excellent bands out there, and there are more than a few if you would take the time to do a little research, few drag in as many influences without allowing those influences to dominate. While most artists play rock 'n' roll when it is time for rock 'n' roll and bluegrass when it's time to grass out, The Danberrys slide the influence in almost without notice. You find yourself halfway through a song before noticing the gospel riff or the light plucking of the banjo (it is used on only two tracks and then with the best of taste), the song the core and the instruments and influences bolstering that core.
Of course, hearing the music itself never hurts. In the spirit of a video being worth a thousand words, I spare you the time and effort of reading. Keep in mind that these videos are live and not the $100,000 efforts of a Hollywood studio and a $10,000 producer/engineer. Which is not to say that these aren't watch and listen worthy. Just that the nuances of the studio add so much.
And one from a few years ago.
The Danberrys are a find. Easily one of the best so far this year.
BY MICHAEL VERITY
THE DANBERRYS are the Tennessee-born couple of Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry. A truly independent pair of artists -- who do everything from booking to recording to tour management -- The Danberrys recently released a self-titled album that beautifully blends thoughtful ballads with jubilant foot-stompers. Contributing writer Michael Verity spoke with Ben and Dorothy about how they came to be The Danberrys, what it's like to build a record from the ground up and the secret to writing a great trucker song.
You began playing together when you were in high school. What sort of stuff were you playing back then?
Ben: Well, we were in the same school musical groups -- choirs and stuff -- before we ever played together. Then, toward the end of high school, I learned a couple of songs for Dorothy to sing. One of them was a Jewel song or something like that.
Your connection was more than musical, though. You dated in high school and college, broke up, then got back together and now you're married. Can you describe that moment when you knew you had to be together?
Dorothy: It was about five years after we had gone our separate ways. I had dated someone else and we had just broken up. I decided I needed a big change so I was interviewing for a job in New York City. Ben had just broken up with his girlfriend, whom he'd dated for a long time, when we randomly ran into each other at a bar in Cookeville (Tennessee) at two or three in the morning.
I don't think we'd exchanged more than one or two words over the past five years. The next time we were together, Ben suddenly looked at me and said 'I don't want to be with anybody else, ever.' (Laughs.) And I said,'I don't want to either!' The next day I was driving down the road thinking 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to get in a wreck, I'm so happy.' I was on cloud nine.
How does that story -- your path together and apart and back together again -- inform the music you're making today?
Dorothy: That’s a great question. No one has asked us that before, actually.
Hey, I don't ask the easy questions. Easy questions make for boring interviews.
Ben: Well, a few months before we broke up, I gave Dorothy one of my guitars and taught her a very few things to play. She had been playing the whole time we were apart. And she had written a whole lot of great songs. A lot of them were kind of sad songs, written for acoustic guitar, which was a lot different from the few electric rock type of songs I'd written.
Dorothy: Yeah, a lot of them were about Ben and how much I missed him. (Laughs).
Ben: Well, I really didn't know that at first. (Laughs). Anyway, we started out playing her songs. Then I decided to start writing again, which is a lot of what you hear on our first EP. When The Danberrys got started, Dorothy had a whole hatful of great songs she wanted to play so that's a lot of what you hear on the new album.
Within six months of releasing your first EP, you ended up onstage with Robert Earl Keen at the Ryman. That's not a bad way to get things rolling, is it?
Ben: Yeah, well we put the EP out as a total experiment. It was like: we have these songs, we're here in Nashville, there's 300,000 studios available and players who want to play the stuff so let's see what happens. Then WSM (Radio) found it and liked it and thought we were perfect for that bill. It was quite the honor.
He's not a bad songwriter himself.
Ben: No kidding! And when you see him in a show it really hammers home how great the songs are and how rabid his fans can be.
You recently released your first full length album called, appropriately, The Danberrys. Tell me about the adventure of recording it entirely as a self-produced project.
Dorothy: We called some friends back in our hometown (Dickson, TN) and hooked up a recording room at the Renaissance Center, which is a state of the art facility that hadn't been used in like 10 years. They let us use it in exchange for doing a free concert there. We brought our own engineers, begged and borrowed some equipment we needed and recorded a lot of it live.
When I saw Lyle Lovett play live the first time, I expected him to come out big and brassy. He opened by singing 'Just The Morning' with a string quartet. The quietude of the album's opener, 'Here We Go Round,' reminds me of that experience.
Ben: That was a slight chance we took, especially in this day and age, when everyone wants to grab your attention with louder and faster. Our mandolin player Ethan encouraged us to lead off with that. We tried to arrange the record in different ways but what it came down to was making it more than just a bunch of songs. We wanted to make it a ride you could listen to from beginning to end.
'Blow On Wind' reminds me of 'You Ain't Goin' Nowhere.' Do you consider The Band a strong influence on you?
Ben: Most of what I listen to was done before I was born. All the classic folks: Neil Young, The Band, Bob Dylan.
The Godfathers of Americana, as it were.
Ben: Yeah, that's a great way to put it.
My favorite song on the record is 'Come Give It.' It reminds me of my peace, love and hippy days of listening to Stephen Stills during his Manassas period. Can you hear the resemblance?
Ben: Yeah, there's a kind of quirkiness to the Manassas record. Like, are they recording a record or having a party?
Dorothy: That's what we were going for. I wanted it to sound like we were having a party, like everybody was just hanging out. That's the feeling of the sound. It's the feeling of what the lyrics are about that, too. Living in love with everybody.
Ben: That was only the second take of the song. We did it live: guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass and lead vocals. It was kind of magical right from the start.
I tend to favor upbeat songs. I have a 12-year old son who's a pretty impressive musician for his age. He set me straight about 'Big Rig': he said it sounds like Dave Dudley mixed with 70's Top 40.
Ben: That's the first thing he said? That's gnarly. That one was written in the studio. The record needed one more up-tempo song and the clock was ticking. I'd been messing with that riff and remember a record of trucker songs Wilton Wall, our recording engineer, had given me about six months earlier. On the back it had a list of all these trucker terms. I figured since we had a song about a train I'd write a trucker song. I thought I'd make it nonsensical, except that it's not nonsense if you have the key to the terms. I hear from the truckers that the lingo is kosher. (Laughs) So it's not too fraudulent.
If this thing doesn't work out, you can always write trucker songs.
What's your favorite tune on the record?
Dorothy: Well, that's really hard to say. You know, they're all my babies.
It's like when someone asks me who's my favorite child, right? It depends on which one is in the room at the time.
Dorothy: Yeah, that’s funny. I guess the ones that turned out, surprisingly, exactly as or better than I hoped were 'Come Give It' and 'Golden Wings.' I really love 'Big Rig,' too. But, when all is said and done, I love them all.
Well, that's good news! What's next?
Ben: Another record, man. We got three demos in the can last week. We may be crazy but we're going to try this again.
BY CHUCK DAUPHIN
How would one categorize the music of the Danberrys? There are so many layers to the sound of Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel that one thing is for certain – you can’t place them in a 4 + 4 box. They are much too complex and smart for that.
At times, there is a definite old-school sound to the music of the couple. “Rain In The Rock” features a mountain-style intro, which serves the song very well. “Meet Me There,” the lone outside tune the duo recorded, also has an undeniable Appalachian feel, with a very haunting sound. I was particularly impressed with the lyrics and instrumentation of “Over & Over,” which sounds like something Loretta Lynn might have been inspired by growing up in Eastern Kentucky.
But, it’s not all a retro-ish tip back to the past for the Danberrys. “Here We Go ‘Round” has a very contemporary edge to it, and Daniel’s vocal soars into the heavens on each note. “Come Give It” skates on the other side of the spectrum with an infectious groove that slowly simmers until it’s a raging fire. “Blow On Wind” puts Ben in the spotlight, a place where he excels – with some outstanding harmony from his wife.
Though it would have been nice to see Ben get a few more places to sing lead other than that track and the irreverent “Big Rig,” Daniel shines beautifully on each track. “Jordan” is an absolute highlight here, as is “Annie Wants To Go Home,” and the closing “Golden Wings” which defines the word dramatic.
If the Americana world doesn’t latch on tightly to the Danberrys, there is no justice. The vocals and the harmonies are outstanding, as is the instrumentation all over the disc. I don’t know if you can define it, but all the Danberrys need is to be heard!
For more information, log on to www.thedanberrys.com
“I was smitten with The Danberrys before their set and I’m more smitten now. There’s a flavor of bluegrass that’s always worked on me, characterized by old world tonalities, polished, modern drive and jazz-smart instrumental work..... I could tell from just a few songs online that the Danberrys are good at this. And their new music -– all from a 24-hour old self-titled album -- sealed the deal.”
Home Base: Nashville, TN
Genre: American Roots Fusion
Categories Entered: EP
Work Submitted: Company Store
Artists Featured: The Danberrys
Who are your influences? We have many, many influences that shape our music. Some (and only some) of these would include: Kelly Joe Phelps, Neil Young, CSNY, Robert Johnson, Roberta Flack, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Ryan Adams, Led Zeppelin, The Band, Emmylou Harris, Tony Rice, Doc Watson, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Beck, Radiohead, Tribe Called Quest, Outkast, James Brown, The Meters, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Black Dub, Band of Joy, Patty Griffin, Darrell Scott, Tim O’brien, Sara Siskind, Julie Lee, Blue Mother Tupelo, Vandaveer, Shovels and Rope, The Wood Brothers, Malcolm Holcomb, Blaze Foley, Donovan, Townes Van Zant, Justin Townes Earl, Kelsey Waldon, Cream, JJ Cale, The Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks, Paul Simon, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, The Average White Band, John McLaughlin, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Tony Joe White, CCR, The Beach Boys, Etta James, Lester Flatt, Bill Withers, Michael Jackson
Describe your nominated work. The Company Store EP is our first recording project. The songs were, for the most part, written in 2010 and were recorded at a friend’s house in Nashville. Our friend offered to record our album pro bono as long as we promised to “do something with it”. The recording process was a learning experience for everyone involved and was very experimental for each of us on some level. We produced the album ourselves with plenty of input from everyone involved. The songs were derived from the passage of time and the life experiences we had during that time. The production of the album reflects the musical vibe of every musician and otherwise interested person on the project. The base tracks were recorded with two vocals and a guitar, and we built everything on top of that. We’re fortunate enough to be good friends with several people in the young and incredibly talented pool of musicians in Nashville, and these guys came in and played some memorable tracks. We didn’t give much guidance at all…just asked that they put themselves into it, so their tracks are all heavily improvisational and real.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? We definitely banged some pots/pans and other random objects together, but the most unusual instrument would have to be the use of a stumpfiddle on “Get Down” and “Company Store”. The stumpfiddle is basically like a drum/percussion set on a stick, and our good friend Jake Winebrenner plays a real mean stumpfiddle.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? The recording process was very loose, and the songs were not especially planned out because we wanted each song to run its natural course. We were recording with older equipment that didn’t allow for a lot of overdubs, so each individual instrumental/vocal performance is pretty well intact throughout. We kept what many would call “mistakes” in our final mixes because every second of every song was a happy accident.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses? This project cost about $800 to record and about $1200 dollars to print. We were able to pay all of this up front, so luckily we recouped the costs very quickly.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMAs? Because we were hopeful that people would love it as much as we do.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Success is when you bring inspiration to other people and these people thank you with inspiration. We’re already successful because we’re not settling for frustrated creativity.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? The recognition by the IMA and its members has certainly given us an increased sense of purpose, and we’re excited to see what lies ahead.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? We have unbelievable friends and family that show support every time they can. You might say that our “fans” are unique because they are all so different from one another. They’re brought together by more than just music…there’s a family/community thing going on…they know and love each other and they’re like an extended family to us.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? We haven’t actually been on any tours yet…which is unfortunate because we would probably enjoy plenty of excesses and encounter plenty of adventures with plenty of mishaps along the way.
Who are your musical heroes & influences? See the first question. We think heroes and influences are the same thing.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? Not really. There are songs we adore (too many to name), but these are somebody else’s songs and that’s part of what makes them so wonderful. A song is personal and is not to be coveted.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? This is a really hard question. We don’t think about our “fans” having any expectations of our musical tastes…although they might be surprised if we listened to heavy metal…that might be the only thing…but maybe not.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? We mostly get referrals from friends and such. Pandora and Jango and internet stations like this are a great way to find new music. We also love Spotify. Our vehicles are not technologically savvy, so we buy music when we just have to have it in the car…which is often.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? People have gotten used to music being free, but we feel that true music lovers will eventually become aware that their favorite artists have to be paid in order for them to continue making their art. It’s not a matter of principle, it’s a matter of economics. Art is the most competitive industry in the world, and without record sales, the only money to be made is in t.v. and movie placements, and live performance. Musicians, on the whole, enjoy fewer financial comforts already, so it’s inevitable that some will get discouraged and stop making music altogether.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? One of the biggest misconceptions is that of a record deal. Record deals are not always what they’re cracked up to be. Musicians don’t make millions and millions of dollars anymore. Not every musician wants to be rich and famous. The large majority of us just want to spend our time doing something that we feel inspired to be doing and would rather not be bothered with the expectation of being glamorous.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? EP’s are very accessible for both the artist and consumer. However, we think there will always be at least some demand for full-length albums. Just like there will always be a demand for movies as well as t.v shows or novels as well as short stories. With a full-length album there is more to experience, so if the songs translate into one really awesome trip, the effect is more impactful.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…playing twister.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? We’re currently doing pre-production for our first full length album that will be recorded in April 2012.
Where fans can find you and your music:
- See more at: http://www.independentmusicawards.com/ima/artist/the-danberrys/#sthash.m77f7ZJM.dpuf
BY CHUCK DAUPHIN
Since the name of this blog is the 615, this week we are shining the light on a duo that marches to somewhat of a different drum beat - the DanBerrys. Comprised of husband and wife Ben and Dorothy DeBerry, the two have been creating quite a buzz within Music City as of late.
Their debut EP has been getting a lot of response for the couple, who admit their musical stylings are a little hard to place neatly in a nice little box. "We've been describing it as an Americana-Folk thing with a World beat. To me, I think it's an acoustic American fusion, because we draw from so many different influences. Dorothy is influenced by soul and blues music. We both share a love of folk music, and I'm a little more influenced by bluegrass, rock, and country. Our players all have similar type influences. To us, it just seems like we are playing music. But, people say that we are doing something that is a little fresh. I think that's because we haven't pinned ourselves to a specific genre."
The two have known each other for years. Ben developed his love of music early, and Dorothy remembers when she noticed something a little different about him.
"When he was in eighth grade, and I was in seventh grade, he played 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' at a talent show. He had this teal electric guitar, and I fell in love him. We didn't even start dating for a few years later, but I never forgot him. I was just infatuated with him because of that."
The two dated through high school, then went their separate ways. But, as fate would have it, a chance meeting at a club in Cookeville, TN reignited the fire between the two -- both personally and musically. Ben said he's much the better for it on both levels, but Dorothy's talent at writing really inspired him.
"When we split up a few years before, she only knew a few chords, but when we got back together, she had developed her own style, and she had some songs she had written. I hadn't really gone in the original direction, as I was still playing other people's songs. She led me in that direction. You can play other people's music all day long, but if you want to express yourself musically, and get other people's attention, you have to do your own thing."
And, that "thing" is a unique musical mix. There's some degree of country in the melting pot, a little bit of Americana, some jazz, and it is all punctuated with the tight harmonies that are quickly becoming known around Nashville as their trademark. You can hear that come to the surface on such cuts as "Hard Times Come And Go" and "Tennessee Central 509."
Ben says they definitely took a hands-on approach to their EP. "We were playing with this local band, and it was just really fun and loose. One of our friends approached us after the show, and he saw something between us. We had just started talking about recording something. With the Internet, it's really easy to put something out there, and get feedback. So, I thought, 'If we record it, we'll know quick if this is something we should pursue.' He said he would love to record us pro bono, and his only stipulation is that we would have to do something with it. We learned a lot, and got a product that we're proud of. We recorded it in a house on old equipment, and we just kind of threw it together. It wasn't what most people would say was the most legit way, but it worked for us."
Dorothy is excited about the comments that they have received regarding their music, as well as their stage show. "There's a comfort level that has been fun. I feel like we're starting to make an impact, making a sound that people are hearing and enjoying it."
The two recently had a chance to open for Robert Earl Keen on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium. "People have been so excited," said Dorothy. "That's one of the things I noticed when we got the Ryman gig. Getting to watch family, friends, and teachers get so excited for us. But, they are having a great time watching us. The favorite thing about playing the Ryman was how much fun they were all having."
And, it seems that's just the beginning. Ben said, "We just feel like we are coming in to our own sound right now. We're getting more solid, a unified sound. I think we're both excited about the future."
BY TESS CYCHOSZ
WSM Nashville, 650 AM is the radio home for the Grand Ole Opry, which has been broadcast live over the airwaves since its inception in 1925. For their 86th birthday celebration, WSM teamed up with Sonicbids to find some great emerging talent for the festivities. Lucky for Nashville locals, The Danberrys: their music struck a chord with WSM and were chosen to participate in the big celebration. Lucky for me: I got to chat with Ben and Dorothy from The Danberrys and heard all about it.
WSM was celebrating their 86th birthday with promos that ran for 86 days – and you participated in that celebration with an on-air performance, a gig at Tootsie’s and then another The Ryman Auditorium in the same day! Was it exhausting or did the adrenaline kick in for you that day?
Ben: We were feeling great all day. Our day began with an 8:00 A.M. on air interview and performance on the legendary WSM radio station. We are typically not morning people but on this day we were fully awake and energetic for our morning engagement. We did take a nap that afternoon and when we awoke it was time to get to business. The rest of the night was great and I felt that our energy level was right where it needed to be.
Dorothy: My energy level was on eleven for most of the day, which was good because the day was pretty full with an 8:00 A.M. on air interview/performance on WSM and then two gigs later that night. I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep the night before. I just watched in total envy while Ben slept like a baby. Of course, we tried to take a nap after the WSM interview, but my adrenaline kept me awake while Ben just snoozed it up…again! I feel like the combination of no sleep and the adrenaline kept my energy right where it needed to be all day. Ben, of course, was totally cool: right where he needed to be mentally and energetically all day. I don’t know how he does it!
For your gig at the Ryman, you opened for the legendary Robert Earl Keen. What was it like share the stage with him? Did you get any personal interaction with him at all?
Ben: It was a great honor to perform on the same bill as REK. He has a great live show, and he has awesome fans, totally loyal and ready to feed the stage with their energy. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to talk to him. We spent most of our post-gig time at the merch booth meeting new people and hanging out with friends and family who had come to see us. We did try to intercept REK backstage, but we didn’t really want to bother him in his dressing room. We also went to an after-party hosted by his management group hoping to see him, but he wasn’t there. Major bummer on that front, but maybe it will happen one day!
Was there any special significance for you for either of the gigs you played that day?
Dorothy: The Ryman is one of the most historic American venues, and I would say that this is probably a well-known fact. We both were honored beyond words to play in such a historic room. The gravity of that honor had us both a little nervous beforehand, but a calming effect came over us as soon as we walked into the building. The house staff were amazing, generous, supportive, and genuinely kind. The building itself, and especially the stage, had a reassuring aura-- like a feeling of unity and comfort--like you were being watched over and championed by an unseen force. Now we totally understand what people mean when they talk about the “spirit” of the Ryman.
Ben: The night had extra special significance for me due to the fact that I had performed at the Ryman as a guitar student in the 90’s. My music instructor held our recitals there every December for a few years, and the concerts were always labeled “Future Stars”. It was surreal to once again enter from stage right and perform in that beloved building. This time, however, it was the real deal and it was an amazing 15 minutes of music. The building is really an instrument in itself. During the chorus of our last tune, you can hear what sounds like a third vocal part on the recording, yet there were only two of us. The night was also extremely special due to the fact that so many of our friends and family were there to cheer us on.
How have those gigs helped you in your career? Did you generate a lot of buzz or get any other special attention or gigs because of that day?
Ben: After playing the Ryman, we have gained the confidence that we can play anywhere. Once you play that stage, most other stages seem to pale in comparison. We have some things currently brewing in our camp, and this opportunity definitely helped solidify our place as professional musicians and songwriters.
If you had the chance to do the day all over again, would you change anything you did or what happened?
Dorothy: Honestly, I think the day went better than we could have ever imagined. There were no hitches of any sort, and both audiences were very receptive and responsive. The whole day was quite magical, and the coolness and professionalism of the people at WSM, Tootsie’s, and the Ryman really made everything flow so easily. You can always second guess decisions and nitpick performances, but there’s really no value in that. What’s done is done, and things are exactly as they should be.
What’s next for you guys? Any new music videos, records or tours coming up?
Ben: As of now, we have two new songs recorded that are currently being mixed for release in early 2012. We’re also planning a music video for one of these songs that will be shot in the near future. We have an album’s worth of songs ready to be recorded, and I’m sure that process will begin soon. Currently, we’re looking for someone to help us with booking and promotional stuff so we can spend more time working on the music rather than the business aspect of the project. Right now we’re doing our own booking for the 2012 festival season and we’re playing in and around the Nashville area pretty regularly. Of course, we’re always writing new material and getting ready for whatever else we’ll be meeting on the path.
BY ASHLEY HOOK
Ben and Dorothy DeBarry are difficult not to like. The two Tennessee natives are quickly making a name for themselves by combining skillfully crafted songs that invoke both old-school country and bluegrass and modern pop/jazz. But their talent alone is not what makes them so likeable. The former high-school sweethearts turned real-life romance couple, embody a tenacity and positivity that is not only catapulting their success, but also serving as an example to others who are interested in following their passions and realizing their dreams. The two delve deeper into the lessons that have served them well, what inspires their music and some of the challenges they have faced along the way.
What age did you start playing music? What was your first instrument?
Ben: Dorothy started singing in church around the age of 12 and I gave her a guitar and taught her how to play it when she was 18. I was always exposed to music through church and through my parents at home. I especially remember hearing ragtime piano tunes being played by my father at an early age. They always got my energy up and going for sure. I began playing the guitar when I was 10 and I just never stopped.
You two teamed up in 2006 as The Danberry's but how did that come about? Did you play together previously?
Dorothy: We are from the same hometown (Dickson, TN) and dated for about four years in high school and college. After five years apart, we ran back into each other on June 14, 2006, and were married exactly four months later. After we got married, we started playing various cover projects, writer’s nights, and bar gigs. We formed The Danberrys in 2010 when we started writing and recording original material.
At what point in your life do you say, "Ok, I'm going to take this leap. I'm going to give it my all and throw caution to the wind to pursue what I love"?
Dorothy: Ben has always been on the musician track. He’s always known that music is his purpose in life and all of his decisions have been based on this knowledge. Before we got married, he taught private music lessons for many years and also made a decent living playing cover gigs in Cookeville, TN. I made “the leap” about a month ago. I’ve been a CPA for about seven years, and I’ve known for a long time now that accounting work is not what I’m supposed to be doing. My worries about bills and retirement funds and all that jazz were holding me back from seeing my true purpose. I just had an epiphany one day. My corporate job was taking up all of my energy and, while I loved the people I was working with, I didn’t enjoy the work and didn’t have much energy left for music. So the next day I quit my job.
What has been your greatest obstacle thus far?
Ben: The greatest challenges are usually mental. However, in Dorothy’s case, it was a physical challenge for many years due to her diagnosis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. TOS is a problem very similar to carpal tunnel and other hand/arm/repetitive stress injuries. Some “top doctors” told Dorothy that she probably wouldn’t be able to continue her work or play her guitar again, basically leaving her disabled at the age of 26. Luckily she didn’t accept that answer and through massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, and super good vibes she healed herself and is now ready to rock.
What or who has been the greatest source of inspiration to your sound?
Dorothy: There really isn’t a way to pin down THE most influential source. The music we’ve listened to, the act of living, sounds from our childhood (for me it was sounds from the country: tractors, katydids, etc.), and other musicians we have come into contact with have all equally contributed to our sound. Our sound is really just a big mesh of everything we have ever listened to and admired.
Who has been your greatest teacher?
Ben: Once again it is hard to just name one but we would have to say: Doc Stone (Ben’s guitar teacher from the age of 10-18), Cindy Freeman (Our high school choir teacher), and all of the wonderful musicians we’ve observed and learned from (too many to call out here). Not to mention life….life experience is the best teacher.
If you were not a musician, what would you be doing?
Ben: Going slowly insane…….Seriously!
If you could only pass on one piece of advice to future generations, what would it be and why?
Dorothy: Getting advice from a trusted source is usually good, but always listen to your intuition. That loving, guiding voice within you will always point you in the right direction. I ignored my inner voice for a long time and by the time I decided to listen, it was screaming at me.
You know that Faces lyric, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger”? What is that thing you wish you could have known?
Ben: That your dream is only a dream if you look at it that way. Dreams can be realized. It just takes a strong will and a big heart and a strong group of friends and family that love you for who you are and who you are trying to be.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Dorothy: We really just want to bring happiness and musical inspiration to as many people as possible. The how’s, when’s, and where’s don’t really matter.
What does music mean to you?
Dorothy: Music is the universal language. It transcends cultures, time, and even species. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that everything in the universe and beyond has a rhythm or song to express and share. We just try to reach into “the abyss” and translate some of what is already there.
Where are your favorite places to play?
Ben: In our music room at home and at pickin’ parties or other small, intimate gatherings.
What is your greatest challenge currently?
Ben: Balancing the other demands from life (work, friends, family, etc.) to allow enough time for our creative energy to really have a chance to get flowing
Sanctuary Show. Please bring canned food to donate to the bus
Muriwai, New Zealand
Whangarei, New Zealand
Whangateau, New Zealand
Katikati, New Zealand
Te Pahu, New Zealand
Whanganui, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand
Blenheim, New Zealand
Nelson, New Zealand
Barrytown, New Zealand
Okarito, New Zealand
Wanaka, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand
Wairoa, New Zealand
Te Puka, New Zealand
Opening for Old Black Kettle. Doors at 7pm.
The Danberrys at Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem. Free Show!
Lexington, NC is where its at on this Thursday night. Full band show. 7$ at the door.
Duo show at the Crooked Door Coffee House in Marion, NC. Free show!
Black Mountain, NC
13 East Park Avenue
Savannah, GA 31401 912-232-4447
Duo show in Augusta, GA at M.A.D. Studios.
House concert at Hillbilly Haiku in Lebanon, TN. Send us a message for details or an invitiation.
Sam Outlaw opens the show at 9pm.
214 S Margin St,
Franklin, TN 37064
Full band show in Saluda, NC for the annual Saluda Arts Festival.
2511 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN
Nashville Fringe Festival
Raleigh, NC. IBMA Bluegrass Ramble
Raleigh, NC - IBMA Bluegrass Ramble
Americana Music Festival duo show in Nashville, TN
Bob Dylan tribute in Nashville, TN
Duo show in Nashville, TN
With Ali Sperry in Chicago, IL
With Ali Sperry in Appleton, WI
With Ali Sperry in Fort Atkinson, WI
With Ali Sperry in Madison, WI
With Ali Sperry in Fairfield, IA
With Ali Sperry in Fairfield, IA
With Ali Sperry in Ames, IA
With Ali Sperry in St. Louis, MO
China Grove, NC
213 West High Street
Woodbury, TN 37190
WSM's Fontanel Friday
Album Release Show
Johnson City, TN
Two Dollar Tuesday
Isle of Palms, SC
Sol Slam Music Festival with Sol Driven Train, Empire Strikes Brass, Sally & George, The Travelin' Kine, Sunflowers & Sin, and the V Tones
Sullivan's Island, SC
*with Sally & George
Nashville Zoo, Grassmere Historic Home
7:15pm Sally & George
8:00pm Robby Hecht
8:45pm Caroline Spence
9:30pm Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys
10:15pm The Danberrys
11:00pm Jenni Lyn
Kingston Springs, TN
Nashville, TN, 6pm - 10pm
Benefit concert for The Southern Environmental Law Center
10 String Symphony
Kaitlyn Raitz & Ben Plotnick
Nora Jane Struthers & Joe Overton
George Jackson & Adam Roszkiewicz
Black Mountain, NC
First Thursdays with Robby Hecht
Castle Douglas, UK
Kirton in Lindsey, NLN
Worth Matravers, DOR
Great Tew, UK
Black Mountain, NC
Late night set after the Robert Earl Keen show