Dan Masterson
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Dan Masterson

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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"Dan Masterson's 'Atlas' is beautiful, familiar"


The first time you hear the title song to Boston singer-songwriter Dan Masterson's new EP, "Atlas," it's easy to wonder, "Which 'Dancing With the Stars' routine was done to that again?" The song is absolutely gorgeous, its piano and warm vocals rolling gently, with just the right amount of propulsion to keep the listener engaged. But there's also a sense of instant familiarity to the song, a sense that we already know it from somewhere.

That spark of recognition is a little dangerous, and if there's one flaw on "Atlas" – and really, it may be the only one – it's that this album is exactly what you expect it to be: Beautifully wrought adult love songs, well-played and even-better-sung. The sort of songs you expect to hear over a climactic love scene near the end of the movie, the couple embracing and kissing as the piano part crescendoes.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course.

"You are the wind in my sails," sings Masterson, "You are the star to my north./You make my world spin on its axis, and you carry my weight./Baby, you are my Atlas." It's the sort of line that hipsters deride and someone else (heck, maybe the same person) will dance to at their wedding.

Masterson – who will headline a release party for "Atlas" April 11 at the Hard Rock Café Boston with a lineup of acts that includes We Were Astronauts, AJ Edwards, Jane's Great Dane and THA CAPITAL G – has put together a very technically accomplished and emotionally compelling album, and the things he sets out to do with that album, he does very, VERY well.

The EP's second song, "Slow Burn," is probably the album's strongest work, it's slow tidal pull examination of a slowly dying relationship. There's something exquisitely honest about the song, about the small bite to lines such as "don't leave us to die in embers." Even when, in the bridge, he opens the door to rekindling the relationship in the future, the words seem flat and hollow, and even the singer knows it. It's actually a nice little bit of unreliable narration – simultaneously human and empty.

Unsurprisingly, the tonal changes that come with the third song, "Nobody I Know (Slow Down)," are a bit jarring – it's the point where Masterson isn't explicitly addressing love, and while the piano blisters, the lyrics are a tad too affirmational for my tastes. Still, it's not objectionable, and the burst of energy on the piano playing is much appreciated.

As the album winds down with "City Streets," Masterson pivots back into romantic ambiguity with a portrait of a relationship that teeters in the purgatory between friendship and romance.
"I can't pretend," he sings, "I don't see there's something going on/but I can't help but think how our friendship could go wrong/I say we're friends and that is all/but how can I be sure when I stand right here/and I want more."

There's a lot of tropes going on in this song – a little bit John Legend's "You & I (Beautiful)," a little Chet Baker's "Just Friends" – but it comes together well and avoids clichés by having the persona own his relationship (or lack thereof). In the end, it's a beautiful little love song, and one has to be hard-hearted to not be moved, at least a little. - Worcester Telegram

"Review: Dan Masterson - Learn To Live"

Incorporating an emotionally-driven personality into his songwriting, Dan Masterson is an eccentric solo act who introduces a highly enthusiastic instrumental approach that breaks the mold of contemporary pop. With a plethora of influences ranging from piano-centric rock artists like Jack’s Mannequin and Regina Spektor to established alternative groups including The Civil Wars, The Fray and Mumford And Sons, the Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter brings justice to his captivating prowess with his sophomore release, Learn To Live. Adding to his impressive talents, Masterson charms listeners with his passionate vocal delivery that complements his whimsical musicianship.

Scripted accordingly like five acts in a play, Learn To Live conveys a chronological tale that revolves around Masterson’s personal journey of moving forward after bearing through overwhelming heartache. With an alluring piano melody that hones the jubilant spirit of the opening title-track, “Learn To Live,” Masterson presents a hopeful lyrical narrative that sheds light on a content mindset that comes from getting over a former lover. While it is often easier said than done, standalone songs like “Fine” and “Bayonet” are solemn ballads that remind you of the conflicting struggles of staying optimistic during a tragic fallout, especially when nostalgic feelings begin to resurface over time.

From beginning to end, Learn To Live is a genuine effort that not only provides you with an enchanting sound, but also pierces straight to the heart in the long run. Listening to this album will make you feel as if you’re vicariously taking a walk in Masterson’s shoes by experiencing the gripping sorrow that he has endured. With relatable accounts of lingering experiences that touch upon the anguish of trembling heartache throughout, Learn To Live acquaints you with a stunning theatrical sequence that profiles Masterson’s uphill battle of fighting these reoccurring woes while conquering despair.

In A Word: Stunning

—by Ryan McGrath, April 30, 2014 - Aquarian Magazine

"Artist Spotlight: Dan Masterson"

"Dan has a unique, simple vocal style that is reminiscent of such classic performers like Billy Joel, but with a modern day sensibility thrown in to make it sound current and contemporary. The overall simplicity of his music is breathtaking with dynamic piano melodies inter weaved through his delicate and passionate vocals that enhance the overall emotional intensity of each song with remarkable precision. It's very rare nowadays to find performers that keep it simple with an organic approach to each song that when played, gives the listener the feel that they're actually in the studio with the artist as they're recording it. Dan is a truly talented and gifted individual and his talents shine very brightly on each and every composition he records. Some of my favorite tracks from Dan include "Father Time" and "Jack and Jill"." Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - Music Box Pete Blog


Late Spring-Early Summer 2017 - Debut Full Length due for completion

April 2015 - Atlas (EP) - Garnered press and radio play from over 100 independent stations nationwide.

March 2014 - Learn To Live (EP) - Professionally recorded and produced, featuring a darker side of Masterson's songwriting.

July 2011 - Live in the UK, Part I (EP) - Released independently online, select live recordings from the first half of Dan's 2011 UK Tour.

May 2011 - The Father Time EP - The debut studio effort featuring six full band recordings.



DAN MASTERSON is a Boston-based performing songwriter who pairs honest, carefully crafted writing with dynamic, powerful vocal performances. Dan’s alternative blend of piano-centric pop and rock evolves with each release, and his music is readily accessible to fans of Billy Joel, Sara Bareilles, and Dawes.

The piano-pounding pop-rocker recently drew praise of regional radio jockeys and promoters as he and his band won The New England Music Awards’ 2016 Last Band Standing competition. The group has recently begun work on his debut full-length album under the guidance of award-winning producer Dave Brophy (Will Dailey, Ruby Rose Fox).

Masterson’s debut release, THE FATHER TIME EP, led him to a 10-week summer tour of the United Kingdom in 2011, where he honed his solo performance in front of fresh audiences, including festival-goers at the famed Edinburgh Fringe.

Dan’s intensely emotional sophomore release, LEARN TO LIVE, garnered accolades from national press and independent radio in 2014, with over sixty station adds. Goldmine Magazine called it “Intriguingly special, totally deserving of ears, and highly recommended.”

Masterson raised the bar still higher with his latest release, ATLAS. Self-produced, ATLAS features drummer and Warped Tour veteran, Austin Bryant, and was mastered by five-time Emmy award winner, Andy Mitran. From the first track to the last, Masterson demonstrates an unusual dedication to his craft, and his live performances have quality to match.

“Anyone who says Dan Masterson didn’t melt their hearts with his performance last Friday night is a liar. Not only did Masterson inspire some gentle, arm-in-arm swaying, on the dance floor, but he also stole the judges with his lyrics…Masterson’s vocal control in ‘Fine’ and ‘Atlas’ the two, in my opinion, outstanding songs of the night was unreal.” – BDCwire

As his career accelerates, anticipation is high. “Masterson makes the kind of music that sells out stadiums and makes young girls weepy,” says music critic and WTBU host, Victoria Wasylak. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time…

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