Daniel Amedee
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Daniel Amedee


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Daniel Amedee - Themes From… - May 2011 Expat Records

Daniel Amedee - Christmas in the City of Love - Single November 2012 Self Released

Daniel Amedee - Climbing - Release set for late 2013



Daniel Amedee is living proof that a musician can be from New Orleans, but not necessarily be of New Orleans, a distinction that courses through his quirky, eccentric songwriting style, informed by a haunting bluesy vocalese that scratches the soul somewhere between Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart, and certainly belies young Daniel’s 25 years. In fact, he’s been at it – writing and producing his own music (and getting by with a little help from his friends) since age 14. Which prompts the question: How and where did this unassuming bundle of talent come to be inhabited by the avant garde spirits of progressive rock and guerilla classical that suffuse his debut CD, Themes From (Ex Pat Records, 2011)? And what can we expect from its follow-up, Climbing, due for release in 2013?

For all its grand and storied heritage of America’s jazz, blues, rock ’n roll, Cajun, Zydeco, R&B, and hip-hop, the Crescent City can be a harsh and unforgiving mistress for a fledgling singer-songwriter-arranger whose music leans more towards the atmospherics of Billboard’s modern rock chart and U2. Throw in the Gulf’s annual barrage of natural disasters, with their withering effect on the psyche, and it makes for a musical sensibility that is more King Crimson than King Oliver, more Mars Volta than Mardi Gras.

“I never really got into the New Orleans blues jazz,” Daniel confides. “It never appealed to me. I was always rock. Even in high school when I was big into pop punk like Blink-182, and U2 just blew my mind, I was always a fan of huge rock bands. I guess the whole club jazz thing never really appealed to me that much, the New Orleans music stuff. I don’t know why.” Could it have something to do with your Catholic school upbringing? “It could, but I wouldn’t attribute it to that. I think even back then, it was just so oversaturated, you know? You hear it once on the street, you get it. I got it. It makes sense. I respect the musicians and I appreciate the music, but I don’t wanna play it.”

Daniel Amedee was born on December 31, 1986, in picturesque Lakeview, a neighbor-hood abounding in churches and parochial schools. His father was an attorney who specialized in school board law and wildlife law, and occasionally worked on projects with the Army Corps of Engineers. Mom ran a trendy Italian leather goods shop and taught English at LSU. She set that aside to raise her only child, but Daniel does remember trips to Italy as a youngster. His parents listened to Dr. John (dad) and Sting (mom), “those are the two that I really remember, and Bruce Springsteen too, he was there.”

Daniel is fond of telling the story back when he was eight years old, attending his cousin’s wedding, where gospel-soul singer Marva Wright’s band was playing. Daniel was captivated by their performance. He went over to them during their breaks, at the “band table,” and no doubt his Saints bow tie broke the ice. Marva let him up onstage when the band started to play and Daniel sang into the saxophonist’s microphone. Later he collected all their autographs on slips of paper and business cards, including one that read, “To Daniel - Keep the music alive - Love, Marva.” It was one of many treasured childhood mementos that were lost in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In grammar school, Daniel sang in the St. Paul’s Episcopal School choir, and at Brother Martin High School he was in the drum line, run by renowned instructor Marty Hurley. “It was one of the biggest ones in the state,” Daniel recalls. “It was something like 15 snare drummers, 4 or 5 quad players, and then about 7 or 8 bass drums, and then a whole xylophone section, about 30 of us altogether. He had us tight.”

And what did you gain from that experience? “It taught me structure, how to play in time. I can play to a metronome like nobody’s business,” a useful skill when you’re recording your own demos in your own bedroom. “That was around the time in high school that I started playing bass and guitar, and then bass was my primary instrument, so I really got a foundation in the rhythm section and bass. And then as I learned to play guitar, I evolved more. I can do song structure and I can keep a solid rhythm.”

Green Day and Blink-182 were holding sway in the early 2000s when Daniel started his first band around age 16, called Silent Game, in which he played bass. He taught himself to play power chords on guitar by using Blink-182 tab books, those same books destroyed by Katrina.

Inevitably, it all comes back to Katrina. Daniel graduated high school that year, 2005, and after getting a name for themselves in New Orleans, the guys in Silent Game got their parents’ permissions to go on a road tour. “We were kids, but we went from New Orleans and then to Mississippi, North Carolina, I know we got all the way up to Pittsburgh. Then we went over to Ohio, had a gig in Chicago, and then we came back down. It was about two and a half, three weeks.” Shows were booked in advance, including one i