Dan Patlansky finds a Shelter of Bones

Dan Patlansky finds a Shelter of Bones

Dan Patlansky finds a Shelter of Bones a wonderful album that shows the variety of blues that Dan has effortlessly under his command and exploits brilliantly: blues-rock, pure blues, funky blues and a slight soulful touch when it’s needed.

Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws -a wonderful album that shows the variety of blues that Dan has effortlessly under his command and exploits brilliantly: blues-rock, pure blues, funky blues and a slight soulful touch when it’s needed.

I’m sure we have all bought albums based on the hype of PR companies and record labels only to be disappointed in the result…inaccurate descriptions and comparisons mislead the sound of the product. One of the few I’ve bought on this basis that turned out even better than all of the press coverage was Dan Patlansky and his 2014 album, Dear Silence Thieves
A little late to the party, but since then, I’ve followed the blues guitarist and singer with interest and have yet to be let down and so spent a bit of time and money hunting down his previous works from the debut Standing at the Station, followed by True Blue, Stones, the acoustic Wooden Thoughts and the last one, Perfection Kills in 2018. Now, at last, he has a new album out called Shelter of Bones and, it is his best yet. Dan explains the long wait: the album was recorded over a three-year period from 2019-2021.

“The pandemic allowed me to take my time, and really think about how I want the songs to come across…it is an accurate representation of who I am currently as an artist, which is a modern twist on what I love most, the Blues.”
That makes two err, lots of us, Dan!

It opens in aggressive and fine form with Soul Parasite, a not so subtle and justified attack on the self-seeking politicians across the world…especially poignant with what is happening in Ukraine at the moment and I’m sure we’re all praying for a speedy resolution to that tragic madness. Anyway, the moment the riff starts, I’m sold…blues-rock of the highest order. Strong vocals, light, shade and a stonking guitar solo show Dan’s ability to traverse the fretboard is undimmed.

Snake Oil City is a blues of the old school: a couple of Kings spring to mind in the way he recreates the feel of late 50s blues in a fresh and novel way. The keyboard backing is spot on and the almost humorous rim playing on the snare as Dan solos fluidly is brilliant. Lyrically it is again about corruption in high places; written about his homeland of South Africa, sadly it is relevant everywhere.

Selfish Lover is something I can really relate to…I too have a love affair with my cigarettes although I haven’t tried to give up! Set to an SRV styled riff but a unique, Dan attack on the fretboard and the plaintiff vocals suit the longing for another ciggy. A perfectly paced and weighty blues run through the essential structure and allow for some nice staccato sections and a great solo. Lost is the second song that is so relevant to me…as I listen to the lyrics of how Dan nearly lost his wife to an unspecified illness, I am transported back to late 2020 when I was in a similar position: my wife was in intensive care for over a week…happily both fully recovered, making this such a difficult listen and yet the slow backing to the emotional vocals and the superb guitar phrases and solo make it essential.

Bad Soul is back to dark and heavy blues and a genius riff. Audiences can look forward to joining the “Ohh, I’m a bad soul” which, I think, is purposely sung in a way that “Asshole” is just as fitting! The almost understated solo is precise and says nearly as much as the words. Presence brings a huge chunk of funk into the blues with the riff, the guitar pedal work and the electric piano and Hammond behind. The guitar solo, however, is blues incarnate if a little short.

I’ll Keep Trying is a slow, bluesy ballad about recognising one’s own failings and the effect it can have on others…has Dan been spying on me?! It’s led by the piano and clever percussion but opens up for a slow and tasteful solo with oh so subtle bends and runs that, again, speaks volumes.

Devil’s Dopamine also resonates as it refers to the alarming state of misinformation and hate that populates the internet. Set to a funky blues backing, it builds nicely to a solo that has SRV styles but is all Dan…and too short. Sweet Memories is a slower soulful blues with waves of keys backing the clever chord work from Dan…he even brings out a bit of Hank in the sound of some of the runs, but the solo is genius…either he is bending the strings so high or he manages to use the machine heads without detuning. Hounds Loose revisits the old ‘sold my soul’ story but in a modern setting with some dazzling, non-widdly, runs sprinkled through the mid-paced, slightly funky structure and, after a gentle bridge Dan delivers a fluid and inventive solo. Final and title track,

Shelter of Bones, is perhaps surprisingly, a gentle song with the interesting thought that ribs are not a cage, but a shelter. It does seem almost anti-climactic until a burning solo lifts it on high.

A truly wonderful and rewarding listen from a man at one with his guitar…compositionally and instrumentally, one of the strongest blues-rock releases of the year…even if it is just February.

Dan Patlansky finds a Shelter of Bones

Track listing:
Soul Parasite
Snake Oil City
Selfish Lover
Bad Soul
I’ll Keep Trying
Devil’s Dopamine
Sweet Memories
Hounds Loose
Shelter of Bones

Guitars/Vocals/Bass Guitar (on tracks 1,5) – Dan Patlansky
Bass Guitar (on tracks 2,3,4,6,8,9,10) – Rixi Roman
Bass Guitar (on tracks 11) – Sebastian Gimm
Bass Guitar (on tracks 7)- Clint Falconer
Keyboards/Piano – Dean Barrett
Additional Keyboards and additional backing vocals – Tom Gatza
Drums – Andy Maritz

Recorded at Scherzo Studio’s, Pretoria South Africa
Additional Recording at Drumheadz Studio, Johannesburg South Africa

Dan is on a UK tour:
March 31st – Southampton The 1865
April 1st – Norwich: Waterfront
April 2nd – Newcastle: Cluny
April 3rd – Glasgow: Oran Mor
April 5th – Sheffield: Greystones
April 6th – Bristol: Exchange
April 8th – Leeds: Brudenell
April 9th – Manchester: Deaf Institute
April 10th – Leek: Foxhole Arts
April 12th – London: Garage

(Guest on all dates bar Manchester is Arielle) Tickets via The Gig Cartel or Dan’s website)

Connect with Dan Patlansky across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website

(iTunes took me next to more blues brilliance of a different kind as Dana Fuchs caressed my ears with her lovely tones on her Love Lives On album from 2018.)

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