Recommended if You Like
Bob Dylan Son Volt Wilco

Genres You Will Love
Rock: Americana Moods: Type: Lyrical Folk: Alternative Folk

By Location
United States - United States

Darius Degher

It’s five CDs and many years later. The Coyote Cantos, Darius’ first CD in eight years, is now out!

The CD features twelve previously unreleased chunks of eclectic Americana, all written and performed by Darius. It also features the drum work of Phil Leavitt (of 7Horse and Dada, who also wrote the cool liner notes for the new CD); Don Teschner (multi-instrumentalist Rod Stewart touring alum); Carl Byron (keys with Michelle Shocked, Jim Lauderdale, Ben Vaughn); and the lovely harmony vocals of Cleopatra Degher (whose EP is also available here on CD Baby). The Coyote Cantos was produced by Darius, recorded with the help of Duncan Aldrich, and mixed and mastered by Denis Degher.

In 1990, Robert J. Hawkins of the San Diego Union Tribune began a feature on Darius with the question: “Darius -- songwriter or poet?” Darius now says, “I had no idea how important that question would be for me, at the personal level.”

With his first CD in eight years being released, and with more of his recent published work being poems than music, maybe it’s time to ask that question again. And maybe the answer, now, is simple: both poet and songwriter. But when Hawkins asked the question, he was thinking only of Darius’ song lyrics as poetry. Today, Darius has two separate arts careers: both music and poetry.

Darius was a postmodern eclectic long before it was cool. He began as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist. Though he also played sitar on Warren Zevon’s "Sentimental Hygiene" CD. He has released five CDs and performed at some of the USA’s most important rock music venues: CBGB in NYC, the Whiskey and Roxy in L.A., the Continental Club in Austin, as well as other venues like the South By Southwest Music Conference, New York City's New Music Seminar, and the Shrine Auditorium. Over the years, he has played on bills with (and been on the same record label as) acts as diverse as REM, Don McLean, Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos, Doctor John, and Guy Clark, to name just a few.

His first solo CD Cardboard Confessional helped make him a feature of the Los Angeles acoustic music scene of the middle 80s (which included Lucinda and Victoria Williams, Peter Case, et al). The CD came out on Gold Castle/Capitol Records (the same folk music label that featured artists like Joan Baez, Don McLean, and Bruce Cockburn, and went out of business in 1990). The CD was released nationally and received impressive reviews (see press excerpts below) as well as radio airplay in numerous American cities. The video for the song "White Boy Raving" was aired on MTV’s 120 Minutes show, among others. It made Billboard Magazine's Top Twenty Video List. His second solo CD, Garage Sale of the Soul, was released on F-Hole Records in 1997.

Before this, during the early 1980s, he played with his band Darius and the Magnets, who were part of the so-called “Paisley Underground” scene, which operated parallel to the Southern California punk scene of the early 1980s. The band, which played the San Diego and L.A. haunts of the day (Madame Wongs, Music Machine, Club Lingerie, etc), released an EP and then a single on Big Time Records of Australia. One of their videos aired on MTV’s Basement Tapes show.

In 1998 Darius moved to his wife’s native Sweden to raise their family. There, he taught college creative writing (and continues to do so online) and began writing poetry. He was also the singer and songwriter in the alt-country-ish Burning Bridges, of Malmo, Sweden. Their CD Poor Man’s Vacation (and other Tales of the Wild and the Weary) was released in 2004. The band performed at numerous festivals and clubs around Sweden from 2000 to 2005, opening shows for the likes of Sixteen Horsepower and Dr. John. Here they are on Swedish national TV:

And that’s the music story. His new CD The Coyote Cantos was released July 7, 2012.

He also continues to write poetry for the page. His poems have appeared in some of the best poetry journals, such as Measure, where his work was featured next to that of the two Nobel laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott. Darius is currently seeking a publisher for his first full collection.

From reviews of Cardboard Confessional and Garage Sale of the Soul

“More down to the ground than even Dylan achieved in his talking blues days . . . Darius is a fresh new breed of folkie, proud of but not stuck on tradition.” Kurt Wolf, San Francisco Bay Guardian

”Every once in a while an album comes along with lyrics so wondrous, so vital, that they should be scripted on parchment, bound in fine leather and handed out . . . Darius -- songwriter or poet?” Robert J. Hawkins, San Diego Union Tribune

”Hearing Hollywood’s poet laureate in concert is always a treat . . . his lyrical abilities are still unsurpassed.” Rich Robinson, Los Angeles Reader”

”Cardboard Confessional is a veritable cornucopia of bright, lyrical wit and intelligently crafted songs . . . Darius is a unique talent.” Richard Foss, L.A. Reader and Bam Magazine

”Five fingers” (highest rating) “ . . . a breath of fresh air in a sea of smog. An LP that would surely ‘hit’ if less of us were so into the ‘me’ generation, though it still might.” In Concert Magazine

Bam Magazine called him “a master travelogue storyteller in the tradition of Woody Guthrie.”

Darius is “one of the founding fathers of the burgeoning Los Angeles acoustic-rock movement.” Thomas K. Arnold, L.A. Times

For more information or CDs: