Dan Branigan is a UK-based banjo player, guitarist and songwriter. His music blends all the flavours of a musical journey from rock to funk to the old-time country sound that drew him to the clawhammer banjo style. He likes to call it “New Age Old-Time”.
For the early-part of his musical career Dan existed on a strict diet of pure seventies funk, playing rhythm guitar with the pioneering funk rockers The High Rollers from Calgary, Canada and then in the early 90s with London funksters Puppy Phat.
For Christmas 1997 Dan got a vintage open-back 5 string banjo, and he soon fell in love with the old-time clawhammer style. The next 12 years were spent raising a family in the Cotswolds, and picking his banjo at old-time music gatherings.
A chance encounter in 2009 with the inspirational singer/songwriter Des Barkus at an open-mic night led to the formation of Country For Old Men, the popular Americana band from Oxfordshire.
After losing both his parents, Dan realised that if anything happened to him he would deeply regret not having recorded any of his own songs and so on April Fools Day 2019 Dan finally started to record at the nearby Shaken Oak Studios.
Nearly 3 years/3 lockdowns later, his first solo EP “The Shaken Oak Sessions Part 1” was released on New Year’s Eve 2021. Engineered and co-produced by Arthur Young, it features musicians from his previous funk and Americana bands and Old-time sessions: Jock Tyldesley (fiddle), Des Barkus (harmonica), Jason Neal (pedal steel), Tim Hillsdon (drums), Eric Young (percussion) and Eddie Stevens (hammond organ). All other instruments are played by Dan.
The featured track “Niagara Falls” showcases the talents of one of the UKs finest old time fiddle players, Mr Jock Tyldesley – he also makes a mean hot sauce! Dan never intended to have a fiddle part on the song but when he and Jock started jamming along to the rhythm track they all decided they had to get it down!
While recording his EP Dan also trained to be a sound therapist specialising as a Gong practitioner. Excited by the possibilities of the vibrations of the therapeutic sound instruments, Dan just had to weave them into a couple of the tracks on the EP which led to the idea of blending “New-Age” with “Old-Time”.
Banjo + Gongs – what could possibly go wrong!!?
Dan hopes to release part 2 of “The Shaken Oak sessions” later in 2022 which will continue to explore fusing the old-time feel of banjo and fiddle with the rock and funk instrumentation of drums, electric bass, and world percussion and also experiment with the far-out sounds of gongs and singing bowls.
For fans of: The Avett Brothers, Gregory Alan Isakov, Watchhouse, Mipso, Beta Radio, OCMS, The Duhks, OCMS, Railroad Earth, Sam Amidon, J.J.Cale, Dillard & Clark.