Party of One
Dan Neal Biography 2/07 Dan's childhood home on the Oregon coast was a place of competing interests. From his mother, the only female member of a touring big band as a pianist, came music. From his father, a star athlete and WW2 vet later inducted into the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame, came sports. Both parents, as teachers, emphasized education. For Dan, music prevailed over sports at a young age. By the time he was 16, Dan had already written a regional hit, toured the western states with his band and opened for several national acts. His bandmates left Oregon for L.A. at that point but Dan chose to remain and pursue higher education at the University of Oregon in Eugene. As successful with his studies as he was with music, Dan earned a heap of scholastic awards throughout college and grad school, then immersed himself in a career in law, of all things. As a public defender, he represented a host of troubled souls, poor desperate people, some mentally ill, many victims of abuse, mostly folks guilty of something and all needing an advocate. Pursuit of social justice has always been important to Dan---he finds it very worthwhile to help our mostly unnoticed and vulnerable fellow citizens. Musically, Dan's choice of education and career did nothing to diminish his passion for music. He kept plugging away at his songwriting and developing his guitar chops, dividing his energy and passion between the worlds of career and music. Then in 2004, Dan experienced his own tragic loss when his older brother Steve, an accomplished writer with a legacy of 4000+ newspaper columns, a dozen books, 3 Pulitzer nominations and much more (Google him sometime), took his own life. Shocked and profoundly saddened, Dan decided to alter his career path, backing away from law to pursue his own music. Later that year, he released his first CD "When The Big Picture Fades" which he dedicated to his brother Steve. His critically acclaimed debut earned favorable comparisons with artists such as Tom Petty, John Hiatt, Richard Thompson and from one publication "a young Elvis Costello". Described as a "grown man's prayer, full of adult observations learned through real life experience", the CD received a respectable quantity of national radio airplay and found it's way onto several interesting placements including French cinema. Backed in the studio by Lucinda Williams rhythm section and recorded in L.A. "Big Picture" represented a solid new beginning for Neal. In 2006, Neal released the single "Ballgame", a baseball inspired song in the vein of John Fogerty's "Centerfield". Played at Boston's Fenway Park, "Ballgame" gained additional recognition for Neal. In April of 2007, Neal's second full-length CD "Party of One" is being released. His growth as a songwriter and artist is evident throughout "Party of One". Featuring such songs as "Tunnel of Light", "BiPolar Express" and "Wake Up In The Mud", Neal's unique take on topics as dark as mental illness and death is both poignant and inspiring. In this CD, Neal's gift for articulating the silver lining in the bleakest of circumstances is on full display. Unapologetically political at times, Dan is especially passionate on "Crawford" in which he concludes by asking President W. "Why don't you go back to Crawford and leave us alone?" in a style reminiscent of Warren Zevon. Early reactions to the tunes on "Party of One", also recorded in L.A. with Lucinda's crew and a host of cameos from top session players and singers including Dean Parks, Greg Liesz and Rosemary Butler, are uniformly positive. The ten songs include "Time To Shine", a duet with Gia Ciambotti who toured with Bruce Springsteen as a backing vocalist. "Time To Shine" inspires listeners to reach higher and try harder, telling us that by doing so, success is assured since the only way one can fail is by failing to try. Few songs engender real chills these days with that old-fashioned combination of honest delivery and lyrics with a certain poetic depth, but it is precisely this combination of attributes make Neal an artist of note with a promising up-side. In his live performances, Neal's contagious energy and showman's personality endear him to audiences who notice in his music that he has a lot to say. With his broad palette of songs, ranging from introspective numbers about meaningful life experience to humorous tales of loveable miscreants, Neal succeeds in getting audiences to laugh, think and leave well-entertained with the feeling that they've made a new friend. His plans for 2007 include a series of performances around the country in support of "Party of One".