More Than This
Bio Euclid, Ohio based singer/songwriter Dan Holt has been writing and performing his own music for the better part of the last twenty-five years. In 1992, after a series of failed attempts at forming a rock band, Holt settled into his own as half of the blues duo Five Believers. In the next five years the duo produced two full albums and two eps while performing two hundred shows a year throughout the Midwest and Southwestern United States. When Five Believers split in June of 1997, Dan Holt hit the ground running releasing his first solo album, 'Death Rattles, Shuffles & Steel Caged Folk Songs,' in the fall of that same year. Performing mostly on the coffee house/small café acoustic music scene around Northeast Ohio, with occasional regional trips, Dan played a steady schedule of gigs while releasing three more studio albums and a live album (2001's 'Twelve By One: Dan Holt Live From Cleveland') before opting to take a break in the summer of 2002. For the next few years, Holt performed occasionally as a member of blues based duo Vertigo Men, recorded obsessively and generally took a much needed rest after ten solid years of writing, recording and performing. Spring 2005 saw the return of Dan Holt to the stages of the Cleveland area folk scene and November brought the release of Dan's sixth album 'More Than This.' Featuring eleven of his strongest songs to date, including the driving acoustic rock of 'Famous Last Scene,' the blues/rock of 'Blood of The River,' and the quiet introspection of the title song, 'More Than This' is easily the best release of Dan Holt's long and distinguished career. With an aggressive touring schedule in the planning stages, 2006 promises to be Dan Holt's busiest and best year yet. Dan Holt On The Making of 'More Than This' After I finished the 'Midlife Crisis' album (released Spring 2002) I felt like I was fresh out of ideas and energy. I'd released four albums of new material in five years and, for the first time in my career, I didn't really feel ready to start writing another one. So, instead of diving into another solo record I decided to take a bit of a left turn and formed Vertigo Men with my good friend and co-conspirator Jim Dimick. After banging out a quick four song ep ('Grove Avenue Blues' released Fall 2002) we settled into a pattern of occasional gigs and endless writing/recording sessions for a still incomplete album project. The focus was always much more on having fun than on being productive and in that we were a rousing success. After two and a half years with Vertigo Men, I found myself, quite by accident, beginning to write the songs that would eventually make up my 'More Than This' album (released Fall 2005). At the time, Jim and I were exploring a much bluesier direction for Vertigo Men and, as I've often done over the course of my career, I went in the opposite direction and began crafting a series of songs in singer/songwriter mode. 'Famous Last Scene,' 'Blood of The River' and 'Missed Opportunity' were completed in quick succession and, in April 2005 I made the decision to put Vertigo Men on hold and return my focus to my career as a solo singer/songwriter. Although the transition from the casual collaboration of Vertigo Men to the hard work of writing and recording an album entirely on my own proved difficult at times, the songs themselves came together quickly and the album was completed in relatively short order. So, is it any good? Ask any musician about his or her newest release and they will invariably tell you that it is the best work they've ever done. I don't really know if it's the best work I've ever done but, I can tell you that it is the most fully realized. From the folk blues of 'Blood of The River' to the acoustic rock of 'Famous Last Scene,' these songs represent my most focused work to date. I've always enjoyed the songwriting part of making records more than the actual recording. However, with this album I really tried to embrace the limitations of my moderate home studio and find the sounds and arrangements that would allow the songs to live and breath in their own space, aside from my aspirations for them. It's always important to let the songs speak for themselves - but I guess this time I tried to also stay completely out of their way and let the songs dictate how they wanted to sound as well. Now that it's complete, I think 'More Than This' is an interesting record and one that I am immensely proud of. I look forward to taking it out on the road and playing these songs for a live audience, which is after all why I make records in the first place. Dan Holt December 2005.