dan carrigan
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dan carrigan

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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"more than a busker"

more than a busker
an interview with dan carrigan
June 27th 2005 - More than a busker ; An interview with Dan Carrigan

By John Stoehr

Savannah Morning News Music Critic

November 24, 2003

Many of us dream of living life on the road -- dashing off to far-away places, never worrying about the past or the future, living each day to its fullest. While most of us have nurtured this fantasy, few have actually done it. One of the few is singer/songwriter Dan Carrigan. He was working in Colorado as a construction worker, trying to figure out how he was going to balance touring and working.

Eventually he came to the conclusion that he was doing things backwards -- working to buy things to do the things he really wanted do. Instead, he decided to cut out the middle-man (the working part) and go directly to living life as a wandering minstrel, what's known in street-musician parlance as a busker.

"I had no how-to plan, no guide," Carrigan, 38, says from a friend's house in Asheville, N.C. "I packed my CDs, clothes and guitar into my Subaru, and went. At first it was difficult. But eventually I figured out life is about timing, not time. I have no agenda. It's different from being “responsible” and having a job with a schedule."

Carrigan grew up in Montreal, Canada, but was born in California, giving him a rare combination of arctic toughness and West Coast ease. He studied music at McGill University in Montreal, a topnotch Canuck school.

After leaving Colorado, Carrigan found himself on the East Coast, outrunning a snowstorm while traveling south on Interstate 95. He saw Savannah on a map and decided to seek shelter. He'd never heard of Savannah nor known anything about its urban beauty. He was amazed at what he found.

"I'd never seen architecture like in Savannah," Carrigan says. "I'd been to Europe before, but never seen so much of the old architecture in the States. I liked the feel of it.

"I perceived a more cosmopolitan vibe to the place," he continues. "People are more (about) quality then quantity in Savannah."

For some time now, Carrigan has called Asheville "home."

"If there were to be a home base (right now), Asheville would be it. But it could have been Savannah," he says.

Carrigan doesn't have a permanent street address. He lives in a 1966 Airstream trailer with his girlfriend, which they tow in an old diesel Chevy Suburban. Without postal permanence, Carrigan goes without the most basic amenities of modern living, like a telephone. Doing this interview was made difficult by the fact that Carrigan, a man who doesn't deal with money very often, remains, by his own volition, incommunicado.

Despite self-inflicted exile from modern life, Carrigan makes albums.

Though nomadic, busking whenever and wherever possible, he considers himself something of an artiste. After Savannah, performing on River Street for four months, Carrigan went to St. Augustine, Fla. He cut his most recent record there, the CD Coqina. His last release, Potpourri, garnered wide under-the-radar praise, having been called surreal, gorgeous, joyful, quirky and refreshing. One critic even compared it to Southern pop icons Big Star.

Coqina features the art of Grant Nelson, a noted painter whose works are on display at the A.T. Hun Gallery.

"It's music to listen to," Carrigan says coyly of his music. "There's a fair amount of melody, so there's something you can whistle. I started writing songs that would stick, that would be memorable. And the lyrics are right up front, so you don't have to struggle to hear them.

" (Most ) buskers do not record (and release their own) records," he says. "The difference between a busker and me is the difference between wild and domestic animals. I might live in the woods, but I like to experience culture."

- savannah morning news

"why people come to asheville"

why people come to Asheville
an interview with dan carrigan
June 27th 2005 - Why People come to Asheville

By Steve Shanafelt

Asheville Mountain Express

September 11, 2002

It was the week before Bele Chere, when the city was an anticipatory and curiously buzzing thing, when I first met Dan Carrigan. I was wandering around late one evening in search of black coffee and decent conversation, and I saw a man playing an electric guitar through a small PA on the street corner. A large and visibly tired dog slept at his feet.

This is hardly a noteworthy sight in downtown Asheville, and I almost passed him by to continue my quest. But something about his music caught my ear, and instead of walking by, I talked to him. That brief conversation led to an interview a few days later. There was much to talk about, because at age 37, Carrigan is living the dream of a much-younger musician. He's living on the road, out of his car, and playing constantly. Just a few months ago, he was playing weekend gigs and working a day job in the Colorado mountains. Then, seemingly out of the blue, he decided to give it all up and take to the streets.

"I wanted to spend more time touring and writing," Carrigan explained. "I found myself wondering why I was doing this day-job-type stuff. I could be playing anywhere, and I just had to get out of the paradigm that you need a gig, [and that] you need to spend a lot of money on booking. [I realized that] I could just show up and play anywhere, and still get by. So, I sold everything, got in the Subaru, and drove away. I've been doing [the current 'tour'] for about nine months now."

Carrigan's tale is one shared in many ways by a great variety of musicians who've passed through Asheville over the years. Life on the road can be rewarding, but often it's just as hectic as anything in the workaday world.

"I'll give you a real window into my life," Carrigan offered. "We'll go in reverse. I woke up this morning at Wal-Mart. Last night, I played the Grey Eagle open mic, and sold a CD to the sound man. Before that, I played here on the street, which is where you met me. I sold two CDs there. I played for tips. Before that, I went and took a bath in the reservoir on the highway and shaved in the bathroom of a rest area. Before that, I woke up in a rest area after playing in Atlanta at Eddie's Attic the night before [and] selling some CDs there. [That was] after doing a very similar road trip from Savannah, where I played the night before that, which was on the cusp of St. Augustine, Fla., which was the night before that. I would estimate in the last 90 days I've probably played about 76 of them, anywhere from one to three shows a day, depending on how broke I am."

With all that effort put out for an unreliable crowd response, one might assume the wandering life's burdens outweigh its rewards. Not for Carrigan: "Am I getting what I want? Yeah. I haven't stopped. I haven't died. I'm supporting my sixth solo album. My dog and I are still making it. I'm living proof you can do it, [but] it's not much of a life if you like creature comforts."

When I first met Carrigan, he told me he was just passing through town and didn't expect to be here more than a few days at the most. I jokingly warned him that Asheville had a way of keeping passing musicians. He laughed, and shook his head.
- mountain express

"out of the blue"

notes from underground/Denver Westword
in eldora by dan carrigan
Denver CO - - Rollinsville, the teeny mountain town known for microbrews, may seem an unlikely breeding ground for quirky intellectual pop. But that's precisely what we encountered from the very first moments of IN Eldora, an out-of-the-blue, eight-song cd from singer songwriter Dan Carrigan. There's a definite homemade charm to this collection - which seems to have been recorded on a four-track - and Carrigan's delivery is subdued and modest, a quality that should endear him to indie purists and those who favor K records offerings like the Halo Benders. Carrigan's songs rely heavily on multilayered vocal tracks, muted guitars - even ukuleles and the occasional found sound; thematically, he's tapped the same absurdist well as artists like Daniel Johnson. "Lose my this" finds Carrigan wishing he could be like a mushroom, like a big balloon that stays still, like anything other than the people around him. "I'd rather draw a bath or even take a nap," he sings. "Everyone gets so wacky when they wander in the aftermath." He dead-pans through "Whisk", where a list of househould chores serves as both chorus and verse (accompanied by banging a screwdriver on a skillet and a background of swirling Makita drills). "Kangaroo" is a childlike gem in which Carrigan views subjects like love, Alfalfa's-shopping hipsters and paying the rent through a dada-ist kaleidoscope, and "Today" finds him celebrating the simple pleasures of not going to work: "Today is the day that I say is my day off/I'm not restless/I'll just make some breakfast/since this is my day off, yeah." He is whistling throughout, and come to think of it, In Eldora is likely to inspire the same glee in listeners who share his left-of-center sensibilities.

- denver westward

"potpourri cd"

performing songwriter
potpourri cd
Nashville TN - - "How are you kangaroo?" asks troubador Dan Carrigan on "Kangaroo", a childlike take on Colorado's sprout-and-tofu eating, fanny-pack (or kangaroo pouch, perhaps?) - carrying hipsters. Culled partly from hi 8 - song EP, IN Eldora, the homespun, lo-fi 4-track recordings feature clunky acoustic guitar and Carrigan's soft dead-pan, with occasional accompaniment from a Fender Rhodes electric piano and drumsticks hittng pots and pans. He praises pistachio ice dream and burritos, wonders what Terry Gross looks like, and celebrates a day off work with innocence and understated wisdom. Bonus points for the interesting cover art.

- performing songwriter magazine

"potpourri cd"

Rapid River CD reviews
potpourri cd by Dan Carrigan
asheville NC - - DAN CARRIGAN


OK-7 Documents


"Potpourri" is the sort of under the radar screen effort that makes writing music reviews equal parts perplexing and joyous. I'm convinced that any attempt to fully explain this beguiling collage of sound effects, textured nuance and fully realized psychedelic pop-folk will inevitably fail to fully disclose how curious and rewarding a listening experience it is. "Potpourri" is unlike any other disc I have heard this year, replete with brilliantly complex yet accessible ditties that infuse themselves into your brain with relentless fecundity, impossible to ignore while rejoicing in their own metaphysical gaiety. The lyrics exist largely to support the endless bounty of gorgeous melodies - although Carrigan readily tosses in unexpected and profound erudition - while sustaining one tune to another in whymsical and delightful fashion. But, it is the whole of this 14-song cycle that should bbe considered: Within its soundscape exists a world completely unto itself. Imagine the surrealist works o0f Henri Rousseau perfectly set to music and you might have some idea of how masterful a disc this is. Coming from so diminutive a label, "Potpourri" might be a difficult disc to track down. One listen should assure you it is deliriuosly worth the effort.
- rapid river


Soundcheck/boulder weekly
In Eldora by Dan Carrigan
Boulder CO - - Spray the dishes as you scrub," Dan Carrigan sings in "Whisk", a gentle homage to working in a kitchen. "Go mop out the walk-in/clean out the nuclear wave oven/and don't forget to put the deliveries away".

Carrigan's In Eldora is a curious and rewarding collection that treads the crooked line between sweet and cerebral. These eight tracks of delightful low-fi melodies are remeniscent of early Sebadoh, with lyrics that should staisfy both post-modern indie pedants and happy Colorado mountain-loving folksters.

Carrigan's subjects range from a celebration of not working ("Today") to a thoroughly irresistable ode to pistachios ("Pistachio"). With lyrics like "Put you in my mouth and chew you/Avacado colored nug" and "As a child you came to me in ice cream/Now I dispense you by the pound/From the bin next to the fava beans/Organic or commercial, I don't care as long as you are green," this latter tune is both remarkably poetic and perfectly silly.

Carrigan sings all the voals and plays all but a handful of the instrumental support. But this isn't Prince: Carrigan's performance is wonderfully modest, limited mostly to natural, deceptively simple vocals and a homey guitar, embroidered with an assortment of clapping, tap-tapping, various kitchen noises, tinkling keys and whistling. The resulting sound is charmingly spontaneous and unrefined.

In Eldora is kind of like a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich: at first it looks like kid stuff. But close your eyes and you'll sink your teeth into a sweet and sticky hodgepodge of childhood's simpler lyricism. This is tasy stuff, vivid and poignant.

- boulder weekly


OK-7 2006 Wu (Florida)
Ok-7 2005 Solo (Indiana)
ok-7 2005 Promeau (Indiana)
ok-7 2003 Coqina (North Carolina)
ok-7 2001 Potpourri (Colorado)
ok-7 2000 In Eldora (Colorado)
ok-7 1997 Tortealia (Oregon)
ok-7 1996 Tuscon (Arizona)
ok-7 1995 Andante (Vancouver, B.C)
ok-7 1994 El Calliope (Montreal, Quebec)
Co-write Discography
rhetic/cargo 1993 Megalo/American Devices 7'
rhetic 1992 Megalo life as it is today
rhetic 1992 Megalo cck-14
rhetic 1991 Megalo megalo
other appearances:
1996 San francisco bike- messenger compillation 'Pothole'
1994 EMI Needletrade artist development deal
1992 CRSG presents with Megalo


Feeling a bit camera shy


musical bio:
+ started out as a writer
+ became a drummer
+ went to McGill Music Conservatory in Montreal (jazz drums, theory, ear training)
+ played in cover and original bands
+ acquired diy skills, released (5) band recordings, toured with bands (Canada, U.S.)
+ signed EMI artist development deal
+ began releasing solo stuff and learning other instruments
+ relocated to U.S. from Canada
+ retired from drumset (John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Room, S.F.) to become singer-songwriter (1996)
+ began touring the contiguous U.S. solo and with bands while producing more CD's
= still at it after 15 years

Been There, Played There…
Montreal, Quebec City, Rimouski (or close), Ottawa, Kingston, London (ontario), Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Kamloops, Kelowna, Vancouver (BC), Bellingham, Seattle, Olympia, Vancouver (WA), Portland (OR), Tillamook, Eugene, Arcata, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkely, Alameda, Newport Beach (CA), Riverside, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Apache Junction, Bisbee, Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Broomfield, Boulder, Golden, Littleton, Nederland, Ward, Longmont, Blackhawk, Boise, Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo, Lawrence, Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Wichita, Omaha, Ft. Worth, Dallas, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Memphis, Tallahassee, Havana (FL), St. Petersburg, Punta Gorda, Bradenton, Cape Coral, Matlacha, Key West, Miami, Gainsville, St. Augustine, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Clearwater, Pensacola, Savannah, Jekyll Island, Atlanta, Charleston, Athens, Chapel Hill, Newport News, Wilmington, Charlottesville, Asheville, Knoxville, Johnson City, Brevard, Black Mountain, Floyd, D.C, Boston, Nashua, Nashville (TN), Chattanooga, Nashville (Indiana), Lafayette, Bloomington, Corydon, Salem (IN), Springview, Indianapolis, Chicago, and many others ...