by M. Lewis Barker
Have you guys seen The Angel Murkurker videos? They’re a trio of local comedians who release a new video every Monday. Please subscribe to their channel and help support local comedy. But this entry is about Provo legend Drew Danburry.
Drew Danburry has done a lot for Provo’s music scene over the years, but last year he retired from performing music in order to grow a mustache and open an old-fashioned barbershop. In honor of the opening of The Danburry Barber Shop, I decided to talk a little bit about the two rather different albums Drew released last year. You can download the two albums here for FREE. (“Apache_The.zip” and “GoodnightDannii.zip”, though I highly recommend you also download “r90s.zip”.)
Drew Danburry – Goodnight Dannii
This upbeat music sounds like it could belong right in the 1950s, but Drew adds a modern twist to his songs. Mixing folk, rockabilly, doo wop, and gospel, Goodnight Dannii is his best work to date. Danburry’s personality shines through every song. The songs are usually short, though their titles tend to be lengthy. The guitars are acoustic, but the energy can get very manic. Danburry often foregoes traditional song structure, though the album is filled with so many familiar and catchy melodies that it could be difficult to notice.
Goodnight Dannii is a musical, starring a happy protagonist who occasionally has to rally his friends (“Artex Died in Truth or Consequences, NM”), sometimes gets down (“Hero Kensan”), has dawning realizations (“Dispersing the Veil”), and sings a short duet (“Aubrey Debauchery”). Danburry guides us through an emotional experience, letting his unique, boyish voice tell the tale.
The album has a pleasant flow, though I find the song order somewhat peculiar and not what I would personally do. The album starts off with a slow indie folk song, but quickly gains a fast pace. Suddenly you could be dancing to every song. But then just as abruptly, Goodnight Dannii returns to its soft beginning and remains that way until the end. I would like to hear those ballads interrupted by something like “Optimus Prime is Dead”.
But it is an excellent album, one of the best to come out of Provo. Please download it and listen.
The Apache – Apache, The
Danburry’s other release last year, Apache, The, was a hard rock side project. All those fast songs I was missing from Goodnight Dannii can be found here, with appropriate instrumentation. A lot of people did not know that the Apache even existed, as they lasted only as long as the album. I like this album more than Goodnight Dannii, but that has more to do with personal taste than anything. The band chose to remain as anonymous as possible, though Danburry’s voice and songwriting are very firmly planted all over the record. I believe that Pat Boyer of Gypsy Cab and The Federal Party Players, plays lead guitar on the album. Pat is maybe the best blues rock guitarist in Provo, and his talents are what separate The Apache from Drew Danburry more than anything else.
The album’s most known song is “Robert Redford or Kristen Wiig (1973)”, a song that sounds more like Danburry than anything else on Apache, The. (All the album’s song titles are two famous people and a year, 1973 refers to the year that The Sting was released and also when Wiig was born.) It’s a classic Southern Rock song, complete with wailing chorus and everything. You could throw this on a radio station between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kansas and no one would bat an eye. But I prefer “James Coburn or Samantha Morton (1833)” for it’s harder edge. Both are fine songs though.
Despite the anonymity and collaborators, Apache, The is still very much a Drew Danburry album. One could seamlessly alternate between this and Goodnight Dannii without the two feeling disjointed. I think they work well as sister albums. One is rock and one is folk, but they are two sides of the same coin. And they really show what music in Provo is all about. Nearly every band here sounds something like one or the other. Danburry has left a very large footprint on the Provo music scene, even if there are many do not recognize the influence.
His effort inspires me, personally. In a world where we become increasingly global yet personally disconnected, we need to do all we can to support ourselves locally. Provo is rich with the arts, but it takes effort and it takes dedication from people like Danburry. He is now putting that energy towards his barbershop, which I hope stays open for a very long time and becomes outrageously successful. But we can all do our part, employing our talents for the good of others. In this time of economic struggle, the arts often suffer as we need to concentrate on our basic needs, but I hope we can find the time and effort to enjoy those things that make life good – whether it’s pizza at The Parlor, a show at Velour, or a haircut and shave from an old-fashioned barber.