April 20, 2007


Dan Zanes goes for the Grateful Dead effect: Former Del Fuego Dan Zane likes his concerts homey and his fans dancing! (Lynne Heffley, April 19, 2007, LA Times)

DAN ZANES' idea of a good time is hanging out with family and friends old and new, making music, swapping stories or just grooving to the rhythm of the day.

That casual approach and an all-inclusive spirit have fueled Zanes' plunge into the growing family music pool. And it's paid off for the former frontman of the alt-rock band Del Fuegos.

This year, Zanes' signature "handmade" music earned the singer his first Grammy Award, a best children's music trophy for "Catch That Train," a mix of old-time spirituals and folk songs and warm-hearted, quirky originals. The album was recorded in Zanes' living room with the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, the Blind Boys of Alabama and such Zanes regulars as singer Barbara Brousal and banjo-master Donald Saaf.

Zanes' concert schedule, including a sellout at Carnegie Hall last November, continues to expand to major venues across the country and beyond — with gigs in Melbourne, Australia, and London. This weekend, Zanes returns to UCLA's Royce Hall, where he will play two Saturday concerts.

As always, the wild-haired, raspy-voiced singer wants his audiences young and old to come prepared to "sing at the top of their lungs and do as much dancing as they want. I really want it to be as much like a little Grateful Dead concert as possible.

"No one's expected to sit quietly in their seat — it would make me anxious if they did," Zanes said. "It's really just, whatever venue we go to, how can we make it feel like one big living room?"

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 20, 2007 7:54 AM

Girl Three refers to "Catch That Train" simply as "the train song" and I admit, it's a good tune. The rest of the album is mediocre at best, though.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 20, 2007 10:53 AM