Recently, some new material from Death to the Strange's Daniel Clarke appeared online. Taking part in the inspired Boat Sessions series, he unveiled some unheard tracks on board a barge in Castlefield. It was pleasing to hear new work and see him performing and joking with an intimate audience.
I first encountered Daniel Clarke around seven years ago when he fronted his band Death to the Strange as they played to a packed Islington Mill. Along with co-writer John Lowndes (now Patchwork Rattlebag) they created a formidable live act and played assured and fully-formed sets that were packed with great songs.
Despite line-up changes, DTTS went on to cement a reputation as one of the best live acts on the scene. They played Beat Herder and even headlined The Ritz. However, of late, things have gone a little quiet for the band.
"I think we've probably finished" Daniel says reluctantly. It will come as a shock to those who are familiar with the group. DTTS had seemed to be bang on the zeitgeist and a certainty for bigger stages.
I ask Daniel if he feels that they came close to making it big... "People say that; I thought we had something" he concedes "It's a shame, but we lost momentum..."
Now, however, he's recorded new material for Boat Sessions*, and it's a welcome return for one of area's most popular musicians. It's an enjoyable and light-hearted session that showcases Daniel's dexterity as a guitarist and his craftsmanship as a songwriter.
Also evident is his sense of humour and refusal to take himself too seriously. I'd wholeheartedly recommend Travel on and This Time Next Year to anyone with a few minutes to listen to a great singer songwriter... "I've had a lot of positive feedback from the sessions" says Daniel "I wanted to let people see that I was still doing it."
He's passionate about music, and when he isn't playing or writing he hosts acoustic nights and encourages others to do their own thing, too. Daniel hosts weekly acoustic events in Castlefield and Salford, as well as a monthly event in Swinton.**
I ask if he has any time for his own shows to debut the new songs live and, as expected, I get a positive response... "I'm on at Man City on Saturday, I've got some private bookings and I'm playing a gig at Blossoms in Stockport..."
There is no let-up in the schedule for Daniel, who seems reinvigorated... "Oh, I've got some stuff in Germany coming up in a few weeks; playing some gigs in Hamburg" he adds.
It's a good time to get along to a Daniel Clarke gig; he is on the up and about to sign a new management deal. Some more shows will be announced shortly, in the meantime, you can see him at the following...
The White Lion, Castlefield. Acoustic Night every Wednesday
The Crescent, Salford. Acoustic Night every Thursday
The Cock and Swine, Swinton. Every second Friday (next one 17th Aug)
Blossoms, Stockport 11th August.
Rum 100 Festival, Sunday 10th September
*To view Daniel Clarke's Boat Sessions on YouTube click here and click here and click here and click here
Words by Ian Leslie