High Country musician Kevin Danzig releases 10th album
FRISCO — Three years in the making, Kevin Danzig has released his 10th album, aptly named “10.” However, some of the album’s songs were written long ago, such as “Eye To Eye” in the 1990s. Danzig said he doesn’t like to force the writing — his ninth album came out seven years ago.
“I wait for the divine inspiration to come down and influence me,” Danzig said.
That was the case for “When I’m in Colorado.” The fourth track came to him as he was fishing with his dog in Mosquito Gulch between Fairplay and Alma. It references Rocky Mountain chile, columbines, snow and other aspects of his new home.
Originally from California, he’s lived in Colorado since 2008 and has bounced around between Park, Eagle and Summit counties. He most recently lived in Dillon but moved to Avon in May. Danzig found it hard to leave Summit, but his time in Dillon influenced his sound and the makeup of this album.
The song “Albert Einstein” comes from when he and John Rothrock sat on the shores of Dillon Reservoir and discussed a quote misattributed to Einstein they saw on Facebook. Ironically, it’s about technology superseding human interaction.
While “10” is specifically a folky Kevin Danzig album, as opposed to one from his other acts like the rock-forward Buzz Drivers, he isn’t the only performer. Rothrock, Ken E. Keller, Michael Hunt, Mike Fauth, Faith Crawford, Dean Oldencott, Tina Ferguson, Leon Joseph Littlebird, Chuck Grossman, Steve Dronzek, Dondi Wood and Scooter Barnes all lend their talents to the record, whether it be vocals, standard instruments or something more unique like the violin and flute. It was mastered at Madhouse Recorders in Leadville and the studio serves at the album art.
Danzig is fortunate that the album was recorded before the coronavirus shut everything down. In fact, he originally was worried that he wouldn’t have time to manufacture the CDs and have them ready to hit shelves for the summer.
“But since I was stuck in a staycation, I was able to get it finished,” Danzig said. “Now, I’m releasing it without any hopes of touring. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that.”
Like many folks in this day and age, he’s had to pivot his efforts to the internet, and he is glad he’s been able to grow his audience online.
“I can get my album and my songs out there all over the world,” Danzig said. “Whereas before, I was a little more limited on that. I was more focusing on Colorado itself.”
During the pandemic, he’s posted a song a day on Facebook. Recently, they’ve been covers of protest songs, but he also has taken the time to work on new material. Danzig, Littlebird and Lisa White co-wrote a song during quarantine called “Well Done” that is dedicated to the front-line workers in the health care industry.
It isn’t featured on “10,” but Danzig taped a performance of it at the Goat Tavern for the Summit Musicians Relief Fund, of which Littlebird is a board member.
No matter how one listens to his songs, it’s evident that Danzig is a storyteller. He follows the folk tradition of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and their ilk with narrative lyrics often told in first person.
“That’s coming from that Dylan perspective, especially on the song ‘Alice,’ for instance,” he said. “The music will just follow what’s being said, like a story. … I like to think of my songs as little plays. Each one is like a little video in your head without having to watch a video.”
He sees himself more as a character, like The Who’s Roger Daltrey in the rock opera “Tommy,” but over the 40 years of being a musician, Danzig’s day-to-day life will creep into his songs. “I Live You” is a love song based on a past relationship, for instance. On the flip side, he’s never been hitchhiking in Virginia like in the song “My Chauffer.”
One of the more unique experiences for Danzig has been writing songs for novels. The ninth track of the album, “Mountains of Fire,” is based on the titular book by longtime friend and collaborator K.E. Pottie. It’s the second book, and matching theme, in a series Pottie wrote about World War II. “Mountains of Fire” focuses on Le Chemin de la Liberté, or The Freedom Trail, which was used as a means of escape in France during the war.
Danzig plays from 2-4 p.m. each Tuesday at Ullr Cafe at the base of Breckenridge’s Peak 8. He also will perform from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, at the Dillon Amphitheater. “10” can be streamed online via Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and other services or at KevinDanzig.com. Physical copies are available locally at Affordable Music in Dillon, as well.
The CD also can be purchased for $20 by mailing a check payable to Kevin Danzig, P.O. Box 3665, Vail, CO, 81658.
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