Dangermuffin’s breezy, ocean-minded Americana
Dangermuffin is quickly emerging as the South’s next roots rock phenomenon. The trio from South Carolina’s Folly Beach mixes the ragged Americana spirit of the Avett Brothers with the laid-back grooves of Sublime and an occasional burst of jam band energy. The sound is anchored by the songwriting of lead singer Dan Lotti, who channels the breezy vibes of his backyard with plenty of feel-good nature metaphors, as well as the tight interplay of guitarist Mike Sivilli and drummer Steven Sandifer. On the way home from a national cross-country tour supporting the recently released album Moonscapes, Lotti shared thoughts from the highway.
“We’re a trio without a bass player. I play a Godin acoustic guitar that holds down the low end. I was exposed to it by listening to Martin Sexton. We tried adding a bass, but it didn’t feel right to me. I used to be a solo folk singer, so I’m used to covering a lot of ground. The limited instrumentation enables us to go in and out of different genres. We incorporate roots rock, bluegrass, and a little bit of reggae, and we’re always experimenting with new grooves and new ideas.”
“A lot of the lyrical ideas come from the ocean. We live on Folly Beach in an old house that survived Hurricane Hugo. There’s a lot of energy coming off the water that’s different everyday. As an artist, taking inspiration from that is unavoidable. It’s inevitably going to get into the music. The title track of the album came from watching the tides recede. When they go way out in the evening, you see big craters in the sand, and it looks like you’re on the moon. There’s a lot of metaphor and truth to be taken from observing nature, and I have to write about it.”
“When it comes to music, there’s a different scene in Folly than there is in nearby Charleston. It’s a small town with a handful of great artists. There’s a crazy little vibe to Folly that’s spawning a lot of great original music from people like James Justin Burke and Howard Dlugash. When we’re home we play every Sunday night at a local place called Surf Bar, where we’ll collaborate with friends. That’s where we work out a lot of new material.”
The Long Road
“We just finished our second trip across the country, and people are really starting to get it. It’s all about a slow and steady climb for us. We’ve had some significant gigs playing for thousands of people. We all share a common goal to subsist off of music, so we’re going to keep writing and keep traveling.”
Catch Dangermuffin at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, W.Va., on November 20.