There's something magnetic about Dan Craig's music. Often compared to artists like Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne and Josh Ritter, with a voice that is "...soothingly scratchy, comforting and worn..." (Playback:STL) and songs that are "...simple yet refined in all the right ways... disarmingly sincere without sounding contrived..." (DU Clarion), Craig's musical production coupled with his ambition, kindness and bravery has won him a spot among Denver's top songwriters.
An Ivy League graduate from Denver with a background in biology, he's been forced to make some very real decisions about his life's pursuit. In January 2008, a year and a half into medical school and with the tracks for the newest full-length, Skin Grows Thin, starting to come together, Craig decided to put school on hold to commit to music full-time.
Where his stories were meaty in the 2006 album, Wirebird, Craig has trimmed the excess in Skin Grows Thin, creating a streamlined album that feels more like an earthy storybook than a musical delicacy. Where Wirebird's arrangements were on the ascent, the accompaniment on the new album is nearly perfect. With more of a collaborative approach for this disk, Craig's arrangements are smart, spacious and provide his breathy, despairing vocals the air that they so desperately need. Craig's guitar/piano/vocal styling benefits from his band including cello, mandolin, bass, drums, and harmony vocals, and the live shows are a mix of anything from solo to six-piece ensemble.
The success of Skin Grows Thin since it's release in May 2008 has been opening doors and ears to Dan Craig both home in CO and on the road. With a touring schedule growing busier and busier at clubs and colleges, the single "Further to Fall" making its way onto One Tree Hill, shows at the Lyons Folks Fest and CMJ, and growing independent radio support, it seems like the business end of Craig's young career is finally starting to catch up with the art. [J. Bitz, N. McGarvey contributing]
Dan Craig - guitar, vocals, piano
Band and Guests Include:
Geoff Burghardt - mandolin
Seth Donovan - cello
Mike Hall - drums
Accidents EP (Feb 2009)
Skin Grows Thin LP (May2008)
Many Sparrows EP (2008 online)
Wirebird LP (2006)
New Every Morning LP (2005)
Skin Grows Thin - Album Review
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Dan Craig found time between commitments to medical school and indie-pop juggernauts Hearts of Palm ...Dan Craig found time between commitments to medical school and indie-pop juggernauts Hearts of Palm to realize his third full-length album (due to be unveiled at the Oriental Theater this Friday, May 9). Craig makes mellow, innocuous acoustic music that moms just love, with nods to other sweet, sensitive types like James Taylor, Counting Crows and Bright Eyes. His lyrics, meanwhile, tend toward life-affirming, often overtly Christian themes. All the same, Craig must have sold his soul to the devil for the undeniably gorgeous, irresistible melodies and harmonies that fill Skin — as well as his deft and tasteful guitar playing. Colin Bricker's shimmeringly clear recording lets the simplicity of Craig's songs shine through while highlighting Erin Donovan's angelic vocal harmonies and cameos by members of the Flobots, Hearts of Palm and Bela Karoli.
Singer-songwriter At Its Best
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Sometimes comparisons are a tricky thing. They can turn you off of music you might otherwise like; f...Sometimes comparisons are a tricky thing. They can turn you off of music you might otherwise like; for instance, I can name countless bands I love but whose contemporaries I don't.
But other times, as in the case of Denver singer-songwriter Dan Craig, they're spot on. So here's my comparison: Craig sounds like Damien Rice and Cameron McGill combined, with his own uniqueness and originality making it all work and rise above the rest.
Craig's second release, Wirebird, is a captivating and intriguing listen from start to finish. First song "Afterglow" is an upbeat, catchy number with a complexly strummed acoustic guitar. A distorted guitar kicks off "Kid in My Clothes," which finds Craig questioning the path he's followed. "Window" takes things down a notch; this slow-burner is filled with poetic imagery and lines such as, "Go out boldly she says/ Don't take no today/ god knows there is no such thing/ We're only moments anyway."
"Waiting on a Waitress," despite having a catchy title, is a hard-strummed rocker, while "Till the Morning Comes" has more of an addictively toe-tapping groove to it. Craig is perhaps at his most Damien Rice on the title track; the instrumentation simple and stripped down, his rough-coated voice stands tall. Piano song "Woken Up Grass" is a classic way to end a timeless album.
Craig's voice is soothingly scratchy, comforting and worn like that old pair of shoes you wear so well. The music's intricate yet simple, easy. Wirebird is singer-songwriter at its best, mellow enough for background music yet richly woven and literate; Craig's lyrics tell tales of people, portraying snapshots of life, begging for headphones. A-
Live Show Review
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Craig's songs are simple, yet refined in all the right ways. Effortlessly, they are disarmingly sinc...Craig's songs are simple, yet refined in all the right ways. Effortlessly, they are disarmingly sincere without sounding contrived or forced, a feat only mastered through years of practice. Accompanied vocally by the sassy Erin Donovan, the duo's harmonies were positively spine-trembling.
ESDM Record Review
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Technology has afforded so many singer/songwriters to release albums in the last few years that it...
Technology has afforded so many singer/songwriters to release albums in the last few years that it’s practically unfathomable. So how do we sift through everything and find the music that’s actually worth listening to? We rely on things like satellite radio, film/TV artist launches, and publicists. Of course, this stuff has to pass our ears and make us stand up and take notice, and Denver’s Dan Craig is doing that to more than a few ears. His third album, Skin Grows Thin, is 13 mostly acoustic offerings that are dreamy, ethereal Damien Rice-like fare that is performed with precision and emotion as if Craig truly believes every word he’s singing. To pull off the acoustic thing well, you have to have a remarkable voice, and Craig’s smoky tenor is just that. The opening track, “Further to Fall,” is money in the bank, but there really isn’t a bad track on here. Other notables are when Craig smartly uses strings and sweet harmonies to deliver his message, as he does on “Breaking Hearts Tonight” and “All Break Down.” Dan Craig’s music might be a music supervisor’s dream, but more than that, he’s a dependable singer/songwriter in a crowded genre.
Colorado Music Buzz
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With songs like his own “Further to Fall” and covers like “falling slowly” by glen hansard, I was co...With songs like his own “Further to Fall” and covers like “falling slowly” by glen hansard, I was convinced that Dan can take any piece of music whether it’s his own or someone else’s, and pull you in emotionally – making the song truly his own. I felt drawn to his style of storytelling. You can’t help but be convinced you are listening to a future star. As he was headlining, I had expected a longer set – but it seemed to end as quickly as it began. I left wanting to hear more from this brilliant up-and-coming performer. Expect this artist to rise to the top of Denver’s music scene.
Muzic Buzz Album Review
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This album is beautiful! When you listen to Skin Grows Thin, the new album from Dan Craig, you are ...This album is beautiful! When you listen to Skin Grows Thin, the new album from Dan Craig, you are immersed in a world of music custom fit to the moments in your life. The listener can genuinely feel the emotion intended throughout this work of art. The poetry that is Craig’s lyrics rhythmically bounce flawlessly while soothing emotional urges that were present before first listen. Craig’s vocal technique harmonizes with his words in which he sings, raising life to the voice that is his own. Skin Grows Thin is a collection of sorrowful yet triumphant songs, each with stellar instrumental performances that live and breathe as one within the song, overall contributing to the warmth of the recording. Combined with excellent matching artwork, Dan Craig finds himself with another outstanding album.
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Dan Craig: Thick-Skinned About New Release November 28, 2008 Among the bustling streets of Manhatt...Dan Craig: Thick-Skinned About New Release
November 28, 2008
Among the bustling streets of Manhattan, Dan Craig was facing a full day–he was on his way to check in for that night’s CMJ show at Banjo Jim’s.
Later that day he had scheduled meetings with a management company and an MTV producer. In the interim, he took time to give Skope a New York minute on his new album and the personal sacrifice that brought his music career to fruition.
Supporting the May release of his new album Skin Grows Thin, it wasn’t long ago that Dan’s life had him heading in a very different direction. Enrolled full-time in medical school and pursuing another career field, his undeniable love of music was ever whispering in his ear. Eventually, Dan knew he had to make a choice between the two.
“There just came a point in school where more and more, I was distracted by my music,” he said of his decision to withdraw from school. “I came to the realization that there wasn’t going to be a perfect, easy time to do it and that music was what I truly loved.”
With a full head of steam towards his music, Dan poured all his creative efforts into 2006’s Wirebird and its 2008 follow-up, which Dan claims is similar to its predecessor without being more of the same.
“I think this album is more similar, to me, than to the outside listener (compared to Wirebird),” Dan said. “This [album] was more deliberate and with more collaboration. I think I learned what I was good at in the studio which made it more focused and the dynamics clearer.”
Dan’s focus this time out instilled an organic facet to his approach to songwriting. Boasting no electric guitar, Skin Grows Thin evokes raw, lush layers within the tracks that he claims: “simply tell stories with a hopefulness and a realism that isn’t cynical. I think there is a difference between naïve hope and realistic cynicism; I wanted to find that middle.”
Standout tracks from Skin are first single “Further to Fall” which features heartfelt lyrics over demure acoustic strums and brush snare snaps. Peeling back the onion reveals layers of strings, finger picking and backing vocals. “Many Sparrows” crescendos into the chorus and decrescendos back to verses; it is a rollercoaster of time changes and pace. The album title track “Skin Grows Thin” reads like words on the page of a love letter. Backing acoustic guitar provides the foundation to Dan’s approachable, yet raspy vocals.
The new album is available in both hard copy and online formats (check CD Baby) and has been met with critical acclaim. Last month “Further to Fall” was featured on an episode of the CW network’s “One Tree Hill.” Look for two EPs tentatively scheduled for 2009.
Words By Chris West
Photos by Sarah Burghardt
WP Album Review
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Dan Craig’s voice somehow manages to be both heartwrenching and uplifting in the songs on his latest...Dan Craig’s voice somehow manages to be both heartwrenching and uplifting in the songs on his latest release Skin Grows Thin and that’s probably my favorite thing about the album. It reminds me that even though bad things happen in life so do spectacular things.
The album as a whole is mellow, acoustic songs that you can listen to over and over again. Full of strings, horns, sweet harmonies and contributions by Erin Donovan and member of the Flobots, Hearts of Palm and Bela Karoli, the album is one that doesn’t really have a bad song in the bunch. If you like Ryan Adams or Damien Rice you’ll likely enjoy this album.
Medicine's Loss, Music Fan's Gain
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Why would one put medical school on hold for dreams of living on cereal and going on tour in a van? ...Why would one put medical school on hold for dreams of living on cereal and going on tour in a van? "Because music is the best thing I know how to do," says Denver's own Dan Craig.
His current CD, Wirebird, shows just how much music is indeed the best thing Craig knows how to do.
There is such a different aura about it; the scratch of his voice combined with the innocent-flavored songwriting is the combination only someone of Craig's talent can pull off, and pull off exceptionally.
Wirebird contains inviting songs that initially had gotten Craig noticed in his native Colorado; this album gives other independent music connoisseurs the opportunity to experience the variety that ranges everywhere from subtlety introspective to downright experimental.
Needless to say, it is far from a disappointing work.
In addition, Craig weaves romanticism and realism in a harmonious dance in the songs, with the best tracks being the opening song, "Afterglow," "Anything Less," and "Waiting on a Waitress,"
In all honesty, however, it was difficult to choose those among the best, as all 12 tracks are exquisite and very well done.
Medicine may have had a loss in Dan Craig, but one listen to Wirebird can convince even the toughest and pickiest indie music fan that what was medicine's loss is music's must-listen find.
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"Each of the album's 12 tracks would fit perfectly beneath Zach Braff's banter in any episode of 'Sc..."Each of the album's 12 tracks would fit perfectly beneath Zach Braff's banter in any episode of 'Scrubs'...the innocence of Craig's songwriting and the seasoned scratch of his voice form a timeless album appropriate for long drives or minor meltdowns."
typically around 45 min
Mostly originals from Skin Grows Thin and Accidents with a couple older favorites from Wirebird and NEM and a new song or two mixed in
There are no upcoming dates at this time.