In 2009, Dan Petrich released the excellent Sycamore Tales, and I really wish that I had gotten to know this deeply introspective album sooner. The sound is built on a foundation of folk and Americana, and ranges from hints of 70s radio (“Chance the Pearl” and “The Seeds are Wasted”) to beautiful folk ballads and instrumentals (“J.P. Special” and “Treasure Lake”). It’s a remarkable debut, which My Old Kentucky Blog called: “…a sparse and powerful record about real people dealing with real problems.”
Here’s how Dan describes the album’s genesis:
So what’s my story? Although I’ve been writing songs and performing in a limited capacity (I’m an English teacher, married, and have three kids) for many years, the songs on Sycamore Tales (2009) came together in a cohesive way almost by accident. I’ve found that the unconscious has a way of dictating creativity. At the album’s core is the notion that suffering can transform people into stronger, more beautiful beings. I’ve also loved sycamore trees since I was a kid when I first noticed them at a local amusement park, Kennywood. Their rough, wild branches and peeling bark made me think of something always in flux, always adapting to life. Hence, the title Sycamore Tales.
From my wife’s breast cancer to my father-in-law’s polio to my own visits from my darkest old friend (depression), the songs on the album explore this idea. Musically, I work primarily with acoustic guitar, vocals with harmony, harmonica, and a slight bit of electric guitar.
All of this deeply personal inspiration has produced in Sycamore Tales an album that positively brims with personality and poignancy. It’s truly an exceptional record, and one that makes me eager for more. Thankfully, Dan is currently at work on a follow-up – The Silent Moon Sings. In the meantime, you can purchase his debut – Sycamore Tales – by contacting him on Facebook or by visiting iTunes. If you love folk, indie, or just plain good music, you won’t be sorry. Not sure? Check out the songs below:
Here’s “Hotel Lights:”
And here’s “Your Horizons:”