It goes without saying that the past year has been hard on all of us. It has been especially hard, of course, upon the music industry and more specifically those artists who have had new music releases come out in the past year. Robbed of the normal and best way of promoting their music and generating income (live shows and touring) due to restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, musical artists have had to get creative and come up with new and inventive ways to promote their creations.
Case in point is the East Nashville based husband and wife duo Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel aka The Danberrys, who in many writers’ opinions, myself included, released one of the best albums of 2020 in May of last year, Shine, only to be deprived of the aforementioned means of promotion.
Taking the matter into their own hands in 2021, as they wait like the rest of us for live venues to reopen, they put in motion an aggressive plan to continue to promote Shine with a release of an expanded version of it on July 23rd, while along the way releasing new music in the lead up to it, albeit in a series of cover songs, culminating in the release of an EP of the cover songs on May 7 and a live stream of the performance of the album at Grimey’s on July 22nd.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Dorothy Daniel about all of this and our resultant conversation and the 2021 release schedule for their music is below.
Americana Highways: How have you and Ben kept busy since the release of your album Shine last year?
Dorothy Daniel: Well, we’ve got a soon-to-be 2-year-old daughter so….never a dull moment there! Ha! Also, we spent the winter recording an EP of cover tunes at a friend’s studio in our hometown of East Nashville. Aaaand…we’ve been diligently writing for our next album. So, we’ve definitely remained busy despite the gaping absence of live shows.
AH: How did the decision to release an expanded version of your latest album Shine come about?
DD: During 2020, we recorded several of the tunes from Shine live, in-store at Grimey’s New and Preloved Music in East Nashville. The live tunes seemed like a perfect fit for an expanded version of Shine, so that got our wheels turning. We also weren’t totally ready to move forward from Shine given that we were mid-release when the pandemic hit. We wanted another opportunity at getting Shine into more ears since the release was interrupted in 2020.
AH: How did the plan to release a number of cover songs come about?
DD: We’ve always wanted to record an EP (or a few EPs) of cover tunes. We’ve never done this before (focused solely on covers), mostly because of time constraints. This seemed like the perfect opportunity since we weren’t playing any gigs. Being in the studio seemed like the only logical alternative to being on the stage.
AH: How did you decide upon which covers to do?
DD: The songs on this EP, with the exception of one, are tunes we’ve been singing together since we were kids. Ben and I started dating in high school (when we were 17…sigh). We’ve always been huge fans of Neil Young, CSNY, CSN, George Harrison, and Townes Van Zandt. It’s amazing that we’ve been singing these tunes together for so long. Now we sing them to our daughter, Ollie. She’s a huge music fan…anything with harmony is her jam. We decided to call the EP “Songs We Sing” and dedicate it to her. Maybe, hopefully, one day she’ll be singing these same tunes to her kiddos.
I should probably mention, since I brought it up, that one of the tunes is actually a newer addition to our repertoire. We recorded the George Harrison tune “All Things Must Pass” for a Nashville videographer in December 2020. She was looking for a musician family to record and be in a hopeful quarantine-themed Christmas video for her clients. Craig Havighurst (from WMOT and The String) sent her our way. We learned the song for that video and loved it…so we decided to include that one on this EP. That was also Ollie’s first time on camera.
AH: So, according to your release schedule, which songs will be on the EP you are going to release on May 7?
DD: The five cover tunes on Songs We Sing are going to be :
“Cripple Creek Ferry” (Neil Young)
“Helplessly Hoping” (CSN)
“All Things Must Pass” (George Harrison)
“If I Needed You” (Townes Van Zandt)
AH: What are the future plans of The Danberrys beyond the release of the expanded version of the album?
DD: We have plans to write and record a new album this year with a producer/musician we’re really excited to be working with. Not going to reveal any names until it’s in the can, but we’re beyond pumped about this one. Things are also starting to open back up a bit, so we’ve booked a few shows for the spring/summer already. Just going to keep making music in any way that we can, as always.
More information about and access to the music of The Danberrys can be found on their website. https://www.thedanberrys.com
The Release Schedule:
Feb 26 – Single 1: Cripple Creek Ferry – Neil Young cover
March 26 – Double Single: 4+20 & Helplessly Hoping – CSNY\CSN covers
April 30 – Single 3: All Things Must Pass – George Harrison cover
May 7 – Digital EP “Songs We Sing” available on Bandcamp only
June 11 – Single 4: If I Needed You – Townes Van Zandt cover
July 22 – Live Stream of full Grimey’s performance of Shine
July 23 – Shine Expanded Edition release (will include 4 live Shine tracks from Grimey’s & 5 cover tunes)