Local artists Satellite13 and Kevin Danzig release new albums
Kevin Danzig loves a good story. The former Summit County resident who now lives in Avon has been a troubadour for decades, crafting lyrical works that touch on all sorts of topics. For example, his 10th album released in 2020 had songs about the Rocky Mountains and Albert Einstein.
For his 11th album, “Holland Cafe,” the collection centers on a fictional painter named Sara. “She’s An Artist,” the opening song, tells the tale of a barista in London with the creative outlet. Danzig’s girlfriend made the album’s cover art in a childlike style, and it shows pictures crafted by Sara that hang in the coffeehouse.
The High Country musician decided to have each song from the album represented in Sara’s art. There is a roulette wheel for “Life Is A Gamble” and an astronaut for “The First Tourist In Outer Space.” While not found in a painting, there is even a goldfish on the cafe stage to symbolize the song “Fishbowl.”
“Like how Joni Mitchell said she paints pictures with her songs, I’ve always been a big fan of hers and I’ve always strived to do that myself,” Danzig said.
Danzig started with five singles in May 2021, using some of the leftover material from his previous album. He was going to finish the rest with his Buzz Drivers band, but then he opted for turning it into more of a singer-songwriter work than just a series of singles for the rock group.
“Holland Cafe” released Friday, Aug. 19, the same day Danzig opened for classic rock band America at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.
A returning collaborator is Danzig’s longtime friend and bass player Ken E. Keller. Also featured on this album are percussionist Jimmy Brotherton and slide guitarist Doug Rees. Danzig finished recording it in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in May 2022. The riverfront city is where Danzig met Keller and recorded his self-titled album in 2004.
Wanting a sound reminiscent of his 2004 record is why Danzig chose that location instead of the Leadville studio where he made “10.”
“This time I moved myself to another location so I could completely immerse myself in recording it without distractions,” Danzig said. “That tends to work for me better. If I get an idea in the middle of the night for the piano, I can just go downstairs and the studio is there, and I can lay it down spontaneously.”
The inspiration for the tracks comes from all over. “Mysteries of Faith” is from Danzig’s time in Fairplay, and “Fallen Angel” is his first instrumental song to conclude an album, similar to how an orchestra plays during the final bow of stage actors.
“Fishbowl” was written with his late wife when they were touring as a duo years ago, and it is about Danzig learning that he was no longer a big fish in a small pond.
“I went from having that confidence of ‘everybody loves me’ to ‘nobody gives a s—,’” Danzig said. “But it builds character because you just get out there and are doing your own music.”
The fourth track, “In Your Hands,” was inspired by The Who and Pete Townshend’s guitar-smashing habit. He wrote it from the guitar’s perspective and made it an analogy for relationships that go bad.
“You can be in so much love and feel good when you’re with a person, and then it turns sour and you feel like you heart has been broken in half,” Danzig said.
Danzig doesn’t have a local solo show lined up, but Summit County will be able to hear of Danzig’s other groups, Gandy Dancers, this week. Playing off of the term for railroad workers, the band features him and banjo player Casey Boyd performing bluegrass and folk music. The group will play at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at Bluebird Market, 325 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne.
“Holland Cafe” can be streamed online at places like Spotify or purchased at KevinDanzig.com. Physical copies are available at Affordable Music, 104 Village Place, Dillon.
We have liftoff
For Satellite13, the gap from releasing the band’s five-song EP in 2019 to its full-length album in 2021 was not intentional. Like many, the coronavirus pandemic derailed plans for a timely release of work and related in-person celebrations.
John Truscelli, lead singer and guitarist for the Summit County rock band, said it would have been better for the members if the group initially started recording during the lockdown in 2020 instead of launching the endeavor in 2019. That way, they wouldn’t have needed to start and stop.
“We were one year too early, but it was cool,” Truscelli said. “Nothing faded away because of the extra time that we took. A lot of people take a year or two years to make a record.”
The 10-track, self-titled album released Saturday, Aug. 13. Like the EP, the record features Tyler Easton on bass, Leo Lopez on drum, and Jess Rose Moidel on fiddle, and it was produced by Tom Fletcher.
Instead of recording in the Silverthorne studio they used previously, the five new tracks were recorded in Las Vegas from October 2019 to January 2020. Mastering the full album, using the talents of Robert Vosgien from Capital Records, began in October 2021.
“That was like a dream come true to be at that studio,” Truscelli said.
Now, Truscelli is focusing on licensing the music rather than touring. Like Danzig, Truscelli is glad to be playing original works instead of covers, and he sees “Satellite13” as elevated, emotional songs that he can picture in film or television scenes. Two tracks, yet to be determined, have been licensed for an upcoming 2022 film called “Dead Wrong.”
While not a concept record like The Who’s “Tommy,” Truscelli said the album has a unifying theme of love. It opens with “Wake Up,” which tells the universal message of loving one’s neighbor, and then transitions to telling an alien love story in “Galactic.” “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” is about a suitor taking their shot at love. The album end with the ghost tale “invierno” — Spanish for winter — that says how the lovers will eventually be reunited.
“It’s all themed very similar, although it may not be an exact continuation of a concept record with like Pink Floyd,” Truscelli said.
The next concert on Satellite13’s schedule is the Throwdown Showdown battle of bands. The competition begins at 6 p.m., Sept. 17, at Infinity Park, 950 S. Birch St., Glendale.
“Satellite13” can be streamed online on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. Physical copies are available at Affordable Music as well as live shows. Truscelli said a vinyl pressing is in the works and that it is estimated to be released around Christmas.
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