Click above for photos and more info.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2012
'Secret Canon Vol. 1' BIO
Dayna Kurtz and the Secret Canon
Dayna Kurtz is the kind of artist who inspires wild-eyed zealotry among her fans, and there are three reasons for it: One, she's an artist's artist, one whose whiskeyed, determined alto often earns her comparisons with Nina Simone; two, while Europeans adore her, she's obscenely underappreciated in her own country; and three, her songs, which straddle a difficult space between jazz, rock, and folk, are pure poetry. - ALL MUSIC GUIDE
Kurtz has an instantly recognizable voice, an almost hoarse whisper full of weary passion that sounds both comforting and dangerous, a voice on the edge of enlightenment or madness - HARP
It’s gorgeous and gripping - essential nocturnal listening - PASTE
...everything falls breathtakingly together: lyrics, melody and that tremendous voice. Mitchell, Piaf, Holiday – she belongs alongside such huge names - NRC Handelsblad, NL, op-ed page (translated)
…Recalls the Buckleys, Leonard Cohen and Marianne Faithful. Like a younger Nina Simone, Kurtz can switch from languorous reflection to wounded, gutsy attack – Q Magazine
Dayna Kurtz’s voice is a deep-hued garnet of lifeblood and beauty… – The Washington Post
There’s no logical reason why Dayna Kurtz is not a full blown star – Boston Globe
Dayna Kurtz's new record, Secret Canon, Vol 1, recorded live to tape in New York and New Orleans, pays homage to some undersung gems mostly from the late 50's to the early 60's. Dayna says: "I love finding lost songs, and my favorite songs from every genre were from this era. There were so many wonderful storefront record labels - we've all heard of Chess, Stax, and Motown - but every city had at least one, and an awful lot of artists and writers that were mostly known regionally released some brilliant songs. And thanks to some dedicated collectors, re-issue labels, free form dj's and the internet, they're finally available for those of us willing to find them."
Dayna, a well documented stylistic free spirit, was also attracted to the fact that all those genres were less codified then. "We've gotten awfully rigid about genres now - but back then you picked up strains of regional country in the r&b, and early rock and roll had swing and r&b running through it. And swing from Texas was different than swing from Louisiana or New York. The rules weren't really written yet, and the music was freer, and - i think -better for it."
Dayna knows something about musical rulebreaking. Every label that has put out one of her records has to contend with the question that has plagued her career: what kind of music does she make? Dayna is asked this question a lot: "It seems to me that it's odder that people only play one thing, you know? I mean I grew up putting my Stevie Wonder record on after my Led Zeppelin and then singing along to the Broadway cast album for 'South Pacific'. And now a kid can read about Zaire in school and say, 'I wonder what the music sounds like there?' - And find out in, like, 3 seconds. The fact that some kid in music school is just gonna train his lense on 60's bebop for the rest of his life without anything else informing it strikes me as more bizarre.”
If there's any doubt as to how great her range is, here's a sampling of the headliners she's been asked to open for or tour with in the past few years: Elvis Costello, Antony and the Johnsons, Richard Thompson, Rufus Wainwright, Richie Havens, Dr. John, Keren Ann, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joe Henry, and Blind Boys of Alabama. Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt have sung her praises in interviews. Best selling author Steve Almond (Candyfreak) devoted an entire chapter to her in his new book about music obsession, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. ("Listening to Dayna's voice was like a drug. It wasn't just her tone or her range or her power, which, if I knew anything about vocal technique, I could praise at length. No, it was something emotional. Her voice sounded like desperation hurled into the world with exquisite control.")
She continues " I'd rather risk being called a dilettante than be stuck using 2 crayons in the big box, you know? I'm doing the best I can to serve the song. The lyrics sing themselves to me. Some of them want brass band. some of them want a cajun waltz. some of them want a searing lap steel guitar. Some of them, like most of Secret Canon, vol 1, want long late night sessions with great jazz and blues players, played live to tape. Maybe for the first time, I have a whole record of songs that wanted, basically, one thing. So maybe this one will be easier to file in the record store. If there's any of those left."
Dayna will be touring with her band in Europe, North America, South America and Australia throughout 2011.