From his country and folk influenced debut entitled The Gap Between to the latest alternative rock driven releases, Suddenly Nothing, How They Hide and Malibu Cocktail, Weintraub is quickly refining his voice of creative expression and claiming a place among the most notable singer/songwriters in the New England region. In his youth, Weintraub drifted along enamored of the greats of classic rock - Steely Dan, The Allman Brothers, Traffic, Warren Zevon, and Jethro Tull. During his time at Brandeis University in the mid 1980s, he became politically active, finding himself in jail after protesting the CIA’s on-campus recruiting practices and the college’s decision to invest in South African businesses during Apartheid. Around the same time, musical endeavors began taking a prominent role in his life.
First, he worked as a DJ at the school’s radio station, an opportunity that led him to explore new worlds of diverse musical styles and genres. Shortly after, Dan began learning to play the guitar; he took to the instrument naturally as a self-taught strummer and fingerpicker. As Weintraub’s abilities developed, the focus on his craft intensified and he started playing acoustic sets at local coffeehouses, highlighted by an opening slot for Tracy Chapman. Upon graduating, real-life responsibilities loomed over his musical aspirations and he was eventually forced to put the guitar aside to focus on a career as an educator.
From his angst filled protests to his progressive teaching style, Weintraub could be characterized as an outspoken champion for honesty and morality. These qualities, although admirable for shaping young minds, often became a troublesome force in more rigidly structured schools. But his no non-sense approach allowed him to quickly ascend the educational hierarchy until he found himself working in New York as a high school principal. The heavy demands of the high-ranking job, however, were problematic for Weintraub’s family life.
Ultimately, he chose to step down from his position, finding himself in a state of limbo. All the while, staring at him from the corner, the old guitar patiently waited for him to start strumming once again. During this period of uncertainty and turmoil, many of Weintraub’s college mates were reaching the pinnacle of high-powered careers as he was starting anew. Now in his mid 40s, he is chasing his calling of music with unrelenting fervor and a renewed sense of purpose.
Over the course of seven albums, his sound has skewed in several directions, but at the core he is a solo acoustic singer/songwriter – a man alone on stage with his guitar. Weintraub’s songwriting is like being granted uncensored access to the most intimate thoughts of an insightful mind, and in doing so the albums pull listeners to the depths of the artist’s soul. His acute consciousness removes the sugar-coating on reality, at times making for dark, brooding, and cynical lyrical content. Yet his infectious hooks and lighthearted melodies create a sense of complexity and contrast, much along the archetype of an Elliott Smith or Rufus Wainwright.
Weintraub’s smooth yet unassuming vocal sound is evocative of John Mellencamp or Gerry Beckley (America). The combination of such qualities, along with a blending of folk, country, and alternative punk elements, has given Dan Weintraub a familiar yet truly unique sound that has drawn comparisons to John Prine, Neil Young, The Cramps, and Joe Jackson. While much of his early work, including The Gap Between, Rudderless, Loose Ends, and What’s Your Point, has been true to the singer/songwriter mold, his latest releases, Suddenly Nothing, How They Hide and Malibu Cocktail, showcase his versatility as he experiments with rock influences. This shift in sound is partly due to an invitation extended to Weintraub to collaborate with Geza X (Dead Kennedys, The Avengers, and Black Flag), a producer most noted for his work during the height of the Los Angeles punk movement of the 1980s.
Self-described to have loner tendencies, he remains adamant that his focus will be on the solo acoustic music, but the burgeoning international acclaim for the tracks produced with Geza could certainly be the impetus for more produced, full band work in the future. As an artist who truly loves his craft, Dan Weintraub aspires to release 10 new tracks each month, and – in an effort to embrace the digital music revolution – over 70 of those tracks are available for free download on DanWeintraub.net. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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