Will Dailey has paid his dues in the musical trenches, honing his writing, instrumental and production chops to a fine, but just grungy enough, sheen.
Last year he released his latest labor of love, the album National Throat to great critical and popular success. The collection of raw, heartfelt and just darn good songs is the crowning achievement to date of this hardworking artist.
To produce National Throat he stepped away from a label deal, turned to crowd-funding and has truly been hands on in every facet of its creation and release.
The result is something he should be proud of. Excellent music that he has steered toward rising success.
With the release of National Throat Dailey has toured extensively. He won both album of the year and artist of the year at the Boston Music Awards. He continues to breathe newfound energy into the process with new bonus tracks and singles.
Here, I’m please to share the bonus track “300 Dollar Man.” Dailey wrote this song in reaction to his participation in Farm Aid. The title of the song is in reference to the Civil War. Union soldiers were able to avoid the draft by paying a fee of $300, so all of those who paid their way out of the war were "$300 Men." This year is also the 30th Anniversary of Farm Aid. Track appears on the new Deluxe vinyl edition of the album, due out March 24.
I talked to Dailey about the album and his next steps. Check it out:
You’ve had some really great success with your latest release, National Throat. How do you feel?
I wanna say it’s surprising, and it is. But you work really hard on these things and you put your whole heart and soul into.
Yeah, isn’t it funny how we’re surprised when stuff works?
Yeah! You pour yourself into and in a lot of ways your in a vacuum when you’re doing it, and then you just want it to be and be something that your proud of at the very least. And then when it connects it’s incredible. It’s also this surprise, and you’re kind of like, how the hell did this happen?! Generally you are working really hard at it.
It’s been one little thing after the other to the point where I was playing this radio thing today and I was thinking now, even if I wanted to take a break, I can’t because this album is doing it’s own work.
Yeah, there’s no taking a break now!
I was like, wow, there’s no lull. And it’s nice after working so long and hard in this business for this to be the album that really connects.
You were very Indie in your approach to releasing this album. Can you talk about your strategy?
So much of National Throat and what it’s about musically, and songwriting-wise, lyrically, is really how the album was put together and how it’s getting out to people. It’s about not only the independent spirit, but the fact that we the people can make art happen and when we do we have a better culture. Instead of one person in a company saying what we should buy, we collectively participate in what we want to represent us. And that’s what we did for fundraising with Pledgemusic. You know, like a lot of things I’m thinking “No one’s gonna pledge on this,” and then it blows up. It was made by the people and the fans. And that energy somehow is infused in the record. And I can’t imagine ever not doing it that way.
Was it kind of terrifying to do it that way?
Absolutely, and it was a ton of work. You want to just make music most of the time but now you have to sign 200 posters and make some handwritten lyrics. Which at the end of the day is cathartic for your process, but it’s a lot of work. And you have to follow through. It kind of separates people who really want to do this from the hobby of music we all should have. I can’t imagine doing this alone again or in a small vacuum with a handful of people knowing that those 800 people are gonna be there day one and participating in what you are making is very empowering. You have to be all in, and if you lose your chips, ok, you walk away from the table.
So, you’ve recently picked up one of D’Angelico’s brand new acoustics. Give us the scoop.
There is a regal look to any line of D'Angelico that draws me right in. I love my acoustic especially. We used it for our live acoustic session because it had the right amount of sparkle without sacrificing any of the low end. I generally beat the hell out of my acoustic but this one calls for more loving care not because it's pretty, just because there is a uniqueness to its sparkle that shouldn't be ignored.
Give us some insight into the recording process for National Throat.
I wanted to remove myself from comfort so we camped out for 8 days in upstate NY at Applehead studios. Slept, eat and showered in the studio. Didn't really go outside except to talk to Bounty the alpaca from time to time. Most of the songs are full takes, usually in the first 3. "Sunken Ship", "World Go Round", "Don't Take Your Eyes Off Of Me": Those are all one take on guitar, bass and drums with some over dubs later. I have amazing players in my band (Dave Brophy & Kimon Kirk)- There is no need for click and certainly not the grid when the song doesn't need it. The goal was to let it breathe. Get off the grid.
You’re song “Higher Education” is one of my favorites. I understand others have jumped on it as a new single, too.
Yes, I just did something with the River today, and they told me they are picking up that song for rotation. It’s a surprising break out song with over 1.9 million plays on Spotify!! People really like it! When that happens the music speaks for itself and you have to let it grow. I’m thrilled!
Will Dailey will continue touring this Spring and Summer, with a Deluxe version of the album due out March 24, including a bonus track or two (or three!).
Find out more and check tour dates at www.willdailey.com