Danny Beirne has been around the block. He has played for two U.S. presidents, opened and/or played with numerous internationally renowned entertainers, released three albums with his east coast-based band, Skip Castro, worked with MCA recording artist Tommy Conwell, whose song, "I'm Not Your Man," was a #1 hit, and he just keeps going. He continues to wow concert and club audiences with his infectious, expressive singing, his powerhouse piano-playing, and a manic, carefree stage persona.
How do you describe Danny's performance? Arresting? How about mind boggling? Devastating? Suffice it to say that Danny never fails to turn heads when he steps up to the keyboard. He has a dead-on, take-no-prisoners approach to the piano that is at once zany, gonzo, melodically brilliant, chordally dense, and rhythmically mesmerizing. Like the jazz and blues greats to whom he so frequently draws comparisons, after you've heard him play, you instantly recognize his style. To watch and listen to Danny build a piano solo from a few carefully chosen licks through some hypnotically inspired chops to a lightning-fast, banging crescendo is to be born again with a new belief in an awesome, as yet fairly unknown talent.
Danny's uniquely expressive singing style is simultaneously articulate and soulful. He feels the lyric and tackles his melodic chores with gutsy abandon. His vocal style is fearless, abrasive, yet can mellow to a breathy yearning with his quieter ballads.
Then there is the breadth of Danny's song-writing style, or should we say, styles. In his catalogue he has left virtually no musical genre's stone unturned. Danny has written in the country, rock & roll, pop, alternative rock, blues, soul, swing, and even the spiritual traditions with artistic eclat and a sincerity rarely seen in today's music scene. Danny weaves these diverse styles into a stunning musical fabric all his own. His songs run the gamut of the human emotional experience (it makes sense that by the sheer number in his repertoire - untold hundreds including a rock opera penned in his early teens - he ranges from songs of pure joy to cries of despair) but running through them all is a sense of strong pop melody and soul.
LIFE IN L.A.
In the late summer of 1999, Danny Beirne came to Los Angeles after a three-year self-imposed sabbatical from the music business. After a long & continuously successful career on the east coast as a singer songwriter, both solo as well as with the bands Skip Castro & MCA recording artist Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to regroup, playing coffee houses and with a local band or two. It was a humbling, spiritual time -- Beirne had gone from playing to audiences of thousands to venues where he worked for tips and could count visually the number of people in the audience. The experience helped him to realize that it was love of performing and creating music that drove him to play, not fortune or fame. After three grueling years in America's northern midwest, Beirne was ready to dive into the Los Angeles entertainment industry, seeking to create "a revolution in the consciousness of our musical times."
A lot has happened since then. Upon arriving in L.A., he hooked up with actor-writer-director-producer Larry Holden, who was readying his screenplay My Father's House for production. Holden, a die-hard Skip Castro fan from years back, wrote the band into the movie in a scene featuring Cameron Diaz, Jeremy Garrett and Page Moss. My Father's House was filmed on location in rural Maryland in August 2000 and is still in post-production.
Holden, noticing Beirne's natural acting ability and animated persona, introduced him to his commercial agent, Robin Levy & Associates, who signed Beirne on the spot. The association with Robin Levy has been highly successful, earning Danny his first principle role in a national TV spot and delivering him his Screen Actor's Guild eligibility.
From March to May of 2001, Beirne joined forces with CyberStudiosNetwork (CSN), the brainchild of television scoring giant Tom Chase and publicist Jim Moore. Affiliated with Universal Studios, CSN is creating quite a buzz in the music industry. This young record company utilized Beirne's musical know-how, expert keyboard playing, arranging and singing talents to round out their fast-growing musical stable. Spending many hours in rehearsal sessions, as well as at CSN brainstorming with other musicians, Beirne performed with the new band, 9/10's Numb, featuring Thomas Wolford on vocals, until personal issues not involving Beirne caused the band to break up after only one live performance.
In the meantime, Beirne's world-class keyboard playing has kept him busy with three other L.A. bands - the Mau Mau Kings (a blues-rock ensemble), Alligator Stew (a Louisiana Swamp boogie band) and Venus Envy (a powerhouse pop-rock group) - while still flying back east to play and sing with Skip Castro for frequent concerts and private appearances. He also did a featured set with Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (of Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan fame) and the Nighthawks as his back-up band at the annual Winchester, Virginia Historic Preservation Society's Blues House Festival in June 2000. Not limited to playing as part of a group, Beirne loves to play solo and manages to squeeze in a few gigs in this capacity whenever he can.
Adding to his singing, playing, and acting repertoire, Beirne is a prolific songwriter and composer. For years he has maintained a reputation for first-rate pop music. "I'm a songwriter," he tells us. "If I think of a song that's country, I'll write a country song. If it's a soul tune, then I'm writing a soul tune. I don't hold back anything because it's 'not my style' or 'it's not what I'm known for.' I've been told this is commercial suicide, but this is my whole point. The airwaves are ruled by corporations and businessmen who want to make a buck. They've created an emotionally and spiritually dead music scene. I want to bring back the life, the unpredictability, of sixties pop radio, where you'd hear the Statler Brothers' 'Countin' Flowers on the Wall' played back-to-back with Stevie Wonder's 'Uptight' and the Four Seasons' 'Workin' My Way Back to You.'" Beirne spends virtually all of his extra time at work in the studio with fellow east coast transplants Jaime O'Connell, Electric Light Orchestra's drummer Gordon Townsend, and the multitalented Rebecca Beirne, recording self-produced demonstrations of his original material.
DANNY BEIRNE SINGS EVERYTHING...+ 12 OTHER BIG HITS
When Danny Beirne came to Los Angeles in August of 1999, he immediately set about recording demos of his original material to showcase his talents as a songwriter in several different genres. He started off recording a few tunes at the home studio of his old friend Gordon Townsend, who had just started drumming for Electric Light Orchestra. He'd churn out a song a day whenever he could make it out to Townsend's Hollywood Hills cabin and both their schedules could accommodate it. Soon, however, it became apparent that Danny needed to spend more time in the studio than Townsend could provide, so Townsend recommended Jaime O'Connell's Monkey Den Studios in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, & it was there Danny set to work recording more demos.
Danny was working non-stop. What with acting obligations, screenwriting, live solo performances, session work, and performing with other bands (his tremendously popular east-coast band Skip Castro, as well as four L.A. groups: The Mau Mau Kings, Venus Envy, 9/10 Numb and Alligator Stew), he had to squeeze in time whenever he could to produce his own music. After a year of recording and sending out songs to agents, production companies, studios, publicists, managers and lawyers, he decided to brush up the demos a bit and release them independently on his own label, Lure Records, along with three solo piano & vocal tracks he'd recorded at Lonnie Knight's Mosquito Shoals Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1998.
After years of prodding from his many fans across the country, Danny is finally releasing his first solo effort. Danny Beirne Sings Everything... and 12 Other Big Hits is a potpourri which touches on some of the many styles which Danny makes uniquely his own. There's alternative rock, pop-soul, jump-swing, country, blues, spiritual, rock and roll, even a broadway style ballad sung by his beautiful and gifted wife, Rebecca, who also assists on many of the background harmonies. O'Connell and Townsend play drums (no machines), sing background vocals, and O'Connell handles all the guitar chores.
Challenging himself to see how many musical genres he could conquer, Danny admits that his first solo album might not fall into any of Corporate Generica's demographic pigeon-holes (except Adult Contemporary), but he doesn't think this should lessen its commercial appeal. Which brings us to the heart of what Danny is trying to say and do with his music - to broaden the listeners' horizons, exposing them to the different beats, feels and approaches he uses in the process of crafting each song.
To hear him speak on the topic of modern radio programming is to bear witness to a veritable zealot for the golden age of top-40 programming, where you would hear country, pop, soul, rock & roll, easy listening, and anything else which was popular at the time put together on the same play list. This is, to some extent, what he's trying to achieve by releasing this stylistically varied collection.
Danny tells us: "I think one of the reasons there are so many people suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder is because all they hear on one particular radio station is one beat, one guitar sound, even one vocal sound. So you switch to another channel to hear something different, & you will hear something different - for about five minutes. Then you realize they're playing all the same beat & sound too. A guy like me, who loves all music, has to keep switching stations all day long to hear new jazz, rock, hip-hop, rap, country, trance, reggae, ska, punk, techno, blues- the works."
Well, guess what? Danny Beirne Sings Everything... and 12 Other Big Hits DOES fit into a demographic -- Danny Beirne's demographic. Sure the styles of the songs are varied, but check this out:
a) Danny Beirne is perhaps best known as one of the greatest, most exciting & original keyboardists in the world. This CD is a tour de force for him: his many fans will not be disappointed by his signature piano, organ and synth work throughout. He's ROCKIN'.
b) All his material is hook-oriented, extremely melodic, and deals with the capacity of the human soul to love even while overcoming emotional hardship, frequently in a humorous way. And, of course, a few tell of just HAVING A GOOD TIME!
c) Danny's music is honest, & this production is bare-bones. No studio tricks. His road-weary voice is put right up front in all its unwavering sincerity & he shines through beautifully.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY...
Danny Beirne tosses his massive mop of red hair with abandon as he pumps out the hefty piano chords that help make his solo act sound like a much larger unit.
-Unicorn Times (Wash D.C.)
(Chuck) Berry's set got a big boost when (another pianist) was replaced by Danny Beirne, the talented keyboard man. Beirne tossed off some scorching riffs on the piano, impressing both the crowd and, obviously, Berry.
-Baltimore Evening Sun
Keyboardist Danny Beirne is cornering more of the limelight. A psyched-up bundle of energy, Beirne, his red afro styled hair flying, would often be up off his stool, encouraging audiences to sing and dance along.
And then there's the matter of this keyboard player, Danny Beirne. Sorry Folks, if you don't catch this guy quick, you're going to have to see him in your local mental institution. This guy is 100% dyed-in-the-wool crazy, playing licks like nobody I've ever seen. I thought I'd seen a lot. Forget it. This guy leaves most anybody in the dust.
Jerry Lee Lewis would cry to see such a new young talent around. I'm sure everyone thought the likes of him would never be recreated, certainly not recreated better. I LOVED IT!
-Kathleen Manley, The Rock Line
His set's loose format allowed for several piano breaks. He is a hard working performer who seems destined to make it and determined to have a good time on the way.
He can't be white! Playing Blues and rock'n'roll like that, he's got to be black!
Danny has opened for and/or played with... The Kinks, Dave Matthews, Kenny Loggins, Southside Johnny, Muddy Waters, Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, NRBQ, The Producers, The Nighthawks, The Bus Boys, James Brown, James Cotton, Albert Collins, The Hooters, Tommy Conwell, Earl Scruggs, Delbert McClinton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Maria Muldauer, Taj Mahal, Junior Walker, Mitch Ryder, The Four Tops, Asleep at the Wheel, Chuck Berry, The Neville Brothers, George Thorogood, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jonathan Edwards, The Stray Cats, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, The Beach Boys, Shawn Colvin, The B-52's, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Hall & Oates, The Turtles, The Spin Doctors, The Supremes, The Spinners, The Grass Roots, The Romantics, the Reverend Billy Wirtz, Little Feat, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Bob Weir, Billy Cobham, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.