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The Edge of Blues
The word “legend” is loaded with meaning – especially when one thinks of Blues-legends. It conjures up images of seasoned older players that have been touched with a rare gift, and whose talent has been salted through the onslaught of years in the music business. To achieve legend-status as a Blues-musician at the age of 30 is almost unheard of. Enter Dan Patlansky – an artist who shares the muse that touched Hendrix, Zeppelin and Stevie Ray Vaughan. What Dan Patlansky can do with a six-string Fender Stratocaster at the age of 30, most critically acclaimed guitarists will never quite achieve in a lifetime. Dan Patlansky is a conglomerate of charisma, charm and musical genius - and all of this comes wrapped up in an unassuming, startlingly attractive package that bespeaks his Judeo-Spanish heritage. And yet, he doesn’t seem to realise the extent of his tactile appeal – both on stage and in person. Humility suits him well and is as much an extension of his being as his Fender. There are no airs and graces here – just sincerity and an incredible musical talent. In only a little over a decade on the music scene, Dan Patlansky has become one of the busiest and most respected blues artists to ever come out of South Africa. His music can best be described as vacillating between slick, soulful blues and the renegade psychedelic angst and raw emotion of Hendrix and Zeppelin – fire encased in ice...if you will. After his debut, “Standing at the Station”, an independent album that amazed critics and garnered Dan a reputation as a Blues-phenomenon and his subsequent “Readers Choice” vote as “Best Blues Guitarist in Southern Africa” – Dan released a second album, “True Blues” which was produced and released by EMI on the famed “Blue Note label” in 2004. Dan is one of the only South Africans to ever achieve “Blue Note” status. And the accolades kept on coming. In 2006 Fender Guitars recognised Dan’s fiery playing and offered him an endorsement deal to promote Fender Guitars and amps. Dan is one of only six Fender endorsed guitarists in South Africa. In February 2005 and again in July 2006, Selwyn Miller, New Orleans based manager of David Gates and Bread, Randy Crawford, and Petula Clark amongst others, brought Dan to New Orleans to showcase this amazing talent. In his time living in the city of the Blues, Patlansky performed at legendary venues such as Maple Leaf, Rock & Bowl and Checkpoint Charlie with many Blues giants such as Henry Gray (Howlin’ Wolf’s Pianist), Snooks Eaglin, The Batiste Famil and Rockin Dopsie Jr. Whilst abroad, Dan performed live on both television and WWOZ radio. What this South African boy achieved in a few months, and the following he built up, many thought would have taken years. Touring was cut short due to Hurricane Katrina and he was deprived of the opportunity to play with legendary and world renowned slide guitarist, Sonny Landreth. During the evacuation of New Orleans, Dan was separated from “The Red,” probably his most prized possession. She is the 50 year-old Fender Stratocaster that Dan used to compose and play his music on. He had to leave her in New Orleans and he thought Katrina took her along with the greater part of the French Quarter…but fate stepped in. The American band that played with Dan in New Orleans were scheduled to play with him in South Africa a year later…when he met them at the airport, they were carrying “The Red”. It seems that the muse has not only touched Dan with an extraordinary gift, but she is looking out for him as well. Dan followed his first two albums with two more releases Real (2007) and Move My Soul (2009), each garnering wider acclaim than the former – solidifying Dan’s status as a world-class Blues musician. He continues to perform all over the country and globe in the company of world-renowned musicians, including Guy Buttery, Albert Frost, Steve Fataar (ex Beach Boys / Flames), Cedric Sampson, Valiant Swart, The Late big voice Jack (who performed with Mango Groove and the Dave Mathews Band) and Alistair Coakley, to name only a few. His epic talent as a musician aside, this man can really sing…Dan’s voice has a gut-wrenching quality that compliments the renegade approach to the Blues. Imagine a young Tom Waits and Marianne Faithful (post-Lucy Jordan) producing a musical heir – and you’re close to understanding the emotive quality of Dan’s voice. When he grabs hold of his Fender he becomes a modern-day knight slaying dragons on stage and bemoaning the carnage all at once. He is one of those rare talents capable of whisking an audience into a netherworld of sonic orgasms. David Batiste Sr. once said that “Dan Patlansky is one of the most renowned and fiery blues artists in the southern hemisphere and one of the greatest I’ve ever seen.” Anyone who hears him play will agree. Meanwhile, Dan Patlansky just carries on playing and blazing musical trails across South Africa and the world, as effortlessly as a summer breeze.