Dirty Dozen: Dale Boyle

Dale Boyle is a Canadian, Montreal-based, roots singer-songwriter and recording artist. His songwriting reflects a range of musical influences, and has earned various award wins including the International Songwriting Competition (2nd place winner in the “Americana” category); Narrative Song Competition (1st place Winner) and Lys Blues Songwriter of the Year award (1st place Winner).

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
I grew up in a small rural town in Quebec (Canada). Over the past 20 years or so, I have been living in Montreal, where I attended McGill University, received my PhD in education and worked as a part-time as a university course lecturer. Outside of academia, I’ve been consistently writing and recording music, and recently I’ve been working on my new roots-rock project.

How would you describe your music?
On a general level I’d call it roots music, which for me encompasses Americana, alt-country, blues and folk styles. A lot of my earlier music was solo based acoustic music, and it leaned towards folk and folk-blues material. But, my new release, Gasoline, is a full-band effort and it reflects a more roots-rock sound.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
Growing up I heard a lot of classic country music…lots of Hank Williams, George Jones, and Tom T Hall. Those artists had a big influence on my songwriting. Perhaps more obvious influences are Steve Earle, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. John Fogerty’s writing with CCR also had a big impact on me as well. The music he created has such a great sense of melody and arrangement. He also wrote in a very concise manner. A number of his songs clock in around two minutes and a half, sometimes shorter. That economical approach to crafting a song is an aspect of my style that was very much influenced by John Fogerty.

What are you currently promoting?
Currently I am promoting my roots-rock EP, Gasoline. I recorded “Gasoline” with the LA rhythm section with drummer Kenny Aronoff and bassist James LoMenzo. Amazing musicians! Actually, Kenny and James are both in John Fogerty’s band, so stylistically they were the perfect rhythm section for this roots-rock project. Right now, promoting this EP is my focus!

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
I’d say “Gasoline.” It’s upbeat and gritty, and I think the lyrics have a universal theme. It’s a special song for me, perhaps because it came together so quickly. Here’s the story: I was scheduled to record with Kenny and James and I needed one additional song for the session. I scanned through my songs and I just couldn’t find one that seemed right. So at the 11th hour, with Kenny and James in mind, I decided to write a new song. I started writing on a Saturday morning and by Sunday night I had fully written, arranged and recorded a demo of “Gasoline.” By Monday it was sent to Kenny and James so they could soak it in before the session. I can barely remember writing it. It happened so fast that I thought, “I’ll fix the lyrics later.” But I never did. The initial lyrics remained and it is one of my favourite tracks.

What are you currently listening to?
Right now, I’m listening to a bunch of music from the ‘70s. So much of the music from that period was unique and quirky. Artists like Dr. Hook, Paul McCartney and the Wings, Meatloaf…all very distinct artists with unique songs!

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
If I have to pick just one, I’d say Steve Earle’s El Corazon. That album covers a lot of musical ground, from folk ballads, to bluegrass, to old-time country, to alt-country rocking songs. There’s even some punk rock influences on that album. There is a lot of variation in my musical tastes, so stylistically that album is “good bang for the buck”!

What are your hopes for your future career?
Above all, I want to continue writing and growing as a songwriter. While I’d be perfectly content writing for myself, it would be nice to further explore writing for other artists as well in the future.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
Again, it largely comes back to songwriting. In a dream project, I would love to work with a great artist as a co-writer and arranger to help shape the direction of songs in the studio. I love songwriting, and I absolutely love working in the studio as well, so to combine both with the right artist would be a dream project.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
I’d say, working with people who are as passionate about music as I am. I’ve been fortunate to have met and worked with some very cool people. Daniel Levitin and Susan Rogers have both helped me record music. And more recently, recording with Kenny Aronoff and James LoMenzo was just so fun and easy. It’s just really great to collaborate with people of that calibre.

And the worst?
Well, the business side of music can be daunting at times. That said, it really depends on the degree to which an artist is willing to engage in the business. For me, the core of what I do is songwriting and that I can do on my own. So, I avoid most of the negative aspects of the music business largely by staying clear of it. Doing this naturally creates limitations to what I can do, but the great trade-off is that I stay positive and focused on what I want to do!

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Thank you for supporting Americana music! I hope you get to check out my latest release Gasoline and thank you for checking out this interview. Take care and all the best!

 

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show – The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session – playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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