Danny Bryant is one of the most prolific and hard working artists on the blues rock scene today. On September 20, Bryant will release his 11th studio album, Means of Escape. Blues Rock Review caught up with Bryant to get the lowdown on the new album.
Means of Escape marks your debut as a producer. Why did you want to tackle that challenge?
The songs that I had written dictated that challenge, to be honest. My last few albums have featured quite a lot of layers and production and that made them quite hard for me to carry over to the stage in a live setting. I wanted to go back to just playing and cutting the songs live with the band in the studio. So I decided I may be the best person to navigate that.
You’ve mentioned how music is your “Means of Escape.” What is it about music that is so cathartic?
I think it’s the fact that it can enable one to easily relate to certain situations. For example, if you are feeling lonely, you can listen to a certain song and you will realize everybody has these emotions. That’s the easiest way I can describe it as a listener. In terms of a performer and creating music, you get to express your innermost feelings and release them! Be it pain, joy, love. It’s that sense of immediate-release that I am talking about.
“Tired Of Trying” is a tip of the hat to Walter Trout. How did that song come together?
Yes, it’s my way of saying to the world that I love Walter’s music, he has been a major influence on my life and my music, as well as a father figure and here I am wearing my influences firmly on sleeve! I showed it to the band, we played it live in the studio and take 2 is the one we kept.
I had met up with Walter when on tour in Germany. We went for dinner and he asked me what I was planning for my next album. I told him that I was tired of trying to second-guess what was best for me and what direction my next project should take. I always want the people who consume my music to enjoy it, which is of absolute paramount to me. I want to always evolve and learn new things with each release. He told me “just be yourself, but never be afraid to wear your influences on your sleeve”. I went back to my room and wrote this. It’s a straight-up nod to Walter’s unique style. It is dedicated to him with much love and respect.
“Hurting Time” sees you bust out the slide for the first time on an album. What inspired that?
Oh, I love listening to all those slide greats so much! I was watching a video of Robert Nighthawk on Maxwell Street (you can find the clip on youtube) and it was so down and dirty. I felt the inspiration run all up and down me. So I got my firebird and decided to work on my slide playing!
“Mya” is an instrumental that closes the album. How quickly did that song come together and what inspired it?
I named it after my little niece, I had the melody running around my head one time when I was telling her a bedtime story. I wanted to say “I love you” but say it just through the guitar. I always felt that it was the perfect fade to this collection of songs.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of the music business today and what do you feel is the most rewarding?
I sometimes worry about the whole streaming of music. I still love physical albums, but I know certain changes will always come. People just consume entertainment on different platforms than before. The most rewarding part is getting on stage and giving people a couple of hours to escape from the outside world!
Interview by Pete Francis