Sunday, 5 July 2015

Dan and Faith Q&A

Your name:
Daniel Senie.

Where are you from?
We live in Bolton, Massachusetts, which is about 30 miles west of Boston. Dan is originally from New York City, Faith from Cooperstown, NY (upstate).

Name of band: 
We perform as "Dan & Faith".

Who else is in your band?
Faith Senie. We’re a husband/wife duo.
I play guitar, five-string banjo and harmonica. Faith has a lot more instruments. She’s most often on mandolin and acoustic or electric bass guitar, but also plays mandola, octave mandolin, tenor banjo and is working on dulcimer. We also love a cappella singing. We add what instrumentation a song tells us it needs.

How would you describe yourselves and your music?
We refer to our music as dream-inspired folk. We do write some of our songs from dreams. Our music tends to be uplifting and hopeful. We do write darker pieces and political songs too, but our intent is always to encourage listeners to think, not hit them over the head with our message. We sing from our hearts and souls, and share that joy with each other while singing, and bring the audience along for the ride.
Our selection of cover songs reflects the directions in our own songwriting.

Who are your main influences musically?
We grew up listening to Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Kingston Trio, Cat Stevens, John Denver and Simon & Garfunkel. Our love of harmonies can be traced back to those days. For songwriting, influences include Larry Long, The Kennedys, Paul Simon, Cat Stevens and so many artists from the folk revival era.

What do you hope to achieve in music?
On the way to showcase at a conference a few months ago, we had a running conversation about the definition of success. At the conference, several workshop leaders shared their thoughts on the subject. One was all about writing that one great song that a hundred folks would cover, then retire and sip drinks on a beach. That wasn’t it. Another was pushing ways to sell premium recordings on vinyl. Nope. The last person was a friend who started out writing a major hit, writing under contract, then walking away from all of that, getting on the road and singing to smaller audiences. Connecting with smaller audiences. That resonated with our thinking. We so enjoy sharing our original songs with listening audiences. When someone comes up after the show and tells you how deeply one of your songs touched them? Priceless.
Overall, our goal is to use music to build community. We hope to open a few ears and heal hearts along the way.

What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
There have been many. A large audience spontaneously joining in on the chorus of a song, lifting us all higher, has to be one of the pinnacle experiences in life. Equally important though would be getting the chance to sing to a life-long friend in hospice, a few days before he passed away (at age 48) of melanoma, and seeing the sparkle in his eyes, seeing the friend we’d known all along. The quiet moments carry great emotion, and needed healing.

And what’s the moment you want to forget?
We were at a critique session at one of the first conferences we ever attended. It was almost our last. The panellists listened blindly to each song and made comments. But the panel was all either hungover or still drunk (and still awake) from the night before. The session was billed as constructive critique, but was mean-spirited. Life is too short for that. We were left with a rather negative impression of several people who are otherwise revered in the community. It may have been the booze talking, but we were scarred by that experience.

If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
Simple Grace. It speaks to our message of finding the good, the peace and grace within, and building community, singing with a common voice. That said, it’s hard to pick among the many songs we’ve written. It’s like asking, which is your favorite child?

Where can we listen to it?


Where can we find out more about your music?

Anything else you’d like to say about your music that I forgot to ask?
We would love your readers to know that we do our best to live our message. We host a monthly open mic in our town’s public library, and a songwriter showcase with different guests each month at a local cafe. When not out on tour, we also help with other area open mics, doing sound reinforcement, guest hosting or whatever we can to help build community. On the road, we look for open mics on nights off as a way to meet local musicians in an area to network and collaborate. In our part of the world, the open mics are also a time for the musicians, especially songwriters, to get together and share songs. With so many of us playing our own shows, we rarely get to go hear friends.

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