When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dan Powell returned home.
The singer, songwriter and guitarist grew up in Frederick and moved 10 years ago to Brooklyn, New York, where he worked on and put out his first album. Now, he is mixing his second album from Frederick, where he moved to work remotely at the start of the pandemic.
The first single from the album is set for release March 9, with the full album to follow.
Powell recently shared some information via email about himself and the new album via email.
The artistI’m a Frederick native who’s been playing music nearly all my life, starting with playing trombone in the school band at Yellow Springs Elementary and Monocacy Middle and eventually switching to guitar, which started at age 12 with lessons at Duet With Music in FSK Mall. When I went to college, I found myself focusing more intently on my musical pursuits, which led to more ambitious projects and collaborations. I carried that momentum into my New York years after moving to Brooklyn in 2010, and I consider myself very lucky to have been able to play with a lot of very talented musicians at venues from Arlene’s Grocery and The Bitter End to intimate loft settings in Brooklyn and Queens. A highlight was when I performed songs from my first album on a rooftop in Brooklyn on the Fourth of July. It was pretty incredible to hear the music we were making projected over the city like that.
The singleThis is a song that I originally wrote for my first album, ‘Limits of Mind.’ That album was recorded in a studio in Brooklyn with an eclectic group of musicians that I had played with before in various bands so I wanted to bring a wide variety of styles to the table. When I started to write again, the themes in ‘Faraway Star’ were perfect for the sort of mood I wanted to invoke on the next record. It’s a song about trying to connect with people who are acting distant, and also about introspectively noticing that same sort of distance in yourself. Of course, after the lockdown began, the theme became much more relevant to the experience we all had in 2020.
The albumI grew up listening to a lot of classic rock staple musicians like The Beatles and The Grateful Dead, which led to a love of psychedelic sounds and crunchy guitar solos. In my twenties I fell in love with soulful and funky music by artists like Marvin Gaye, Nile Rodgers, David Bowie, Daft Punk and The Weeknd, which have a smoother, more polished, and cleaner sound. So I like to think of my music as psychedelic soul or something like that. I really idolize artists like Kevin Parker from Tame Impala or Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys who really drill down into the fundamentals and orchestrate entire songs and albums. So, when New York was shut down last March, the time was ripe to launch a similar solo project. The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic really comes through on this record, which was partially written and fully recorded during the height of the lockdown. Like the single, the album as a whole explores the themes of isolation and introspection, but there’s also some hope offered in the realization that these troubling times are only the other side of the happy times we experience.
How to listen
The first single off Powell’s second album will be out March 9 on all streaming platforms, including his Bandcamp page at https://theliteraltranslation.bandcamp.com/releases. The album will follow shortly thereafter.
His first album, “The Literal Translation — Limits of Mind,” is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, Soundcloud.
To learn more about Powell and his music visit www.theliteraltranslation.com.