Our latest interview is with Somerville, MA-based folk troubadour Dan Blakeslee. Blakeslee has released numerous albums, the most recent of which is 2014’s Owed to the Tangled Wind. The album was recorded at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI by Ben Knox Miller and Jeffrey Prystowsky (The Low Anthem) and earned Blakeslee recognition as the 2014 “Folk Artist Of The Year” at the Boston Music Awards.
Aside from music, Blakeslee is an accomplished visual artist. Beer aficionados have seen his work adorning cans of Heady Topper beer.
You’re a Tweed veteran. Any favorite memories from years past?
I was really knocked out to find they had a house on the property where after the shows all the musicians would collaborate and record songs. I am a terrible jammer so I am glad they didn’t kick me out of the session!!!!
Are there any particular artists that you are particularly excited to see perform at Tweed this year?
Let’s put it this way, there is no one on the line up I am not excited to see! So many of my favorite artists/friends are playing. I always look forward to No Small Children and of course Bow Thayer (mayor of the festival). By the way he looks really good holding a chicken… and a guitar!
Vermont is a haven for outdoor sports and activities year-round. Are there any outdoor sports/activities that you especially enjoy when you’re not working?
I have always been an avid cyclist… Vermont has hills… a lot of therm… I like hills! Also, swimming, canoeing, hiking, flying kites. and hugging trees (though I usually end up covered in maple syrup)!
What is your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor?
That’s like asking which is your favorite puppy in the litter (in front of the dogs)… but I think I will go with Mint Chocolate Cookie… ruff!
Do you think differently about festival shows than you do about regular shows?
Festivals always bring an extra dose of magic maybe because each one is so unique. I like how you get to mingle more with the festival goers who journey there to escape and unwind and come away with an experience… same goes for the performers. I am looking into playing festivals more and more.
Tweed has always been a festival that is built around community. How would you describe the music community in your home town/town where you live? How has it, if at all, influenced your music?
I live in Somerville, MA and the musical family we have here is so incredibly warm and supportive of each other. No matter the genre there seems to be a great respect for each other… we are all in this for the same reason… music is something we cannot live with out.
How does “location” fit into your songwriting?
When I write songs location, location, location is always an important part. Whether it’s where you write them at the moment or if you are thinking of dreaming yourself away when you really want to be somewhere else. You should ask Dorothy this question… I hear Oz is nice! I have written several songs in Bethel, VT at Peavine Park. I always love lounging by that river.
Here is Blakeslee performing “My Lightning Valentino” in NYC last fall.
Tweed River Music Festival is less a showcase for bands and more a celebration of everything that great music embodies: the deeply personal link between artist and fan, the spirit of community and cooperation and, yes, the magical atmosphere of a great show in a stunning setting.
Set on a bucolic swath of land nestled between the Green and Northfield Mountains in the Mad River Valley in Waitsfield, VT, the 2015 Tweed River Music Festival will host more than 30 acts, including staples such as Bow Thayer, Tim Gearan, Andrea Gillis, White Dynomite and The Curtis Mayflower, while also welcoming Bloodshot Records recording artist Lydia Loveless, Vermont natives Waylon Speed and Alligator Records recording artist (and Boston native) Jesse Dee.Other great musical acts include Joe Fletcher, JP Harris and The Tough Choices, Caitlin Canty and ANTI Recordsrecording artist Christopher Paul Stelling.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.