A week back Dana Gehrman unveiled her debut single Find A Way, a transfixing tune featuring Aussie music royalty Tim Rogers. The guitar and vocal melodies are something special, but given the pedigree of both musicians involved, it’s really no surprise.
Ahead of her tour dates in August and an eventual album release, we caught up with Dana for a chat.
A week since Dana Gehrman dropped her debut single Find A Way, we caught up to chat about LSD rock, the magic of the ’70s, and working alongside Tim Rogers.
HAPPY: Hey Dana, how’re you going? What have you been up to lately?
DANA: Hey, I’m great thanks! I’ve just been down at the Groundwater Music Festival on The Gold Coast playing some lead guitar for a mate of mine, but back home now enjoying a beautiful sunny day on the verandah finalising things for my VIC tour next week.
HAPPY: We’re all loving the new track, could you tell us a little about it?
DANA: Well, the album needed a ‘love’ song, and this is it. It’s a story of two people who fall in love but it can’t be… their desperation of wanting to be together and finding a way to make it work.
HAPPY: What kind of things were you listening to when you wrote it?
DANA: Find A Way was actually written by my good friend, Danny Widdicombe (The Wilson Pickers). We worked together throughout the process of bringing not only this song but my whole album to life.
We had discussed the idea of a ’70s American west coast vibe song – something reminiscent of early Bonnie Raitt. David Crosby’s If Only I Could Remember My Name album was a big influence for this track too, those open chords and LSD country-rock vibes. When the instrumental demo of Find A Way appeared in my inbox I instantly fell in love.
HAPPY: How did the Tim Rogers connection come about?
DANA: Danny and his Brisbane band of all stars, The Honey Sliders, do an annual show re-creating, note-for-note one of their favourite albums… in 2016 they played The Rolling Stone’s Sticky Fingers album with Tim as Mick Jagger! What a perfect fit!
I’d been invited to open the show and sing a couple of numbers with the band. My first meeting with Tim was in a rehearsal room singing BV’s for Gimme Shelter… I was shitting myself. “Really give it some” was Tim’s advice to me that night – and it became a bit of a mantra for the whole weekend of shows and it sure was one hell of a weekend to remember… or not to remember as it proved, after a few too many shots backstage. But’s that’s a whole other interview.
HAPPY: What was it like working with an Aussie music hero?
DANA: Surreal. When Tim walked into the studio (in an amazing blue suit), I was pinching myself… but it was all really easy in the studio – we have a shared love for those ’70s Laurel Canyon artists so there was an unspoken understanding of the music and what we wanted to capture. The song wasn’t intended originally as a duet, but I had a dream that I was singing it with someone and knew it was Tim. So working with him truly was a dream come true! I’m still pinching myself.
HAPPY: We read the video was made all in an hour, could you tell us a little about this experience?
DANA: Let me just say that Agostino Soldati is a legend! I initially asked Tim if we could record a live clip of the song when I was in VIC on tour with Mick Thomas… there was a small window of time between Tim’s schedule and my soundcheck (for a show with Ayleen O’Hanlon) at The Gaso, yes about an hour.
I enlisted Ago to film the video and only told him the night before that I’d decided to swap out the live clip idea for a proper music video. Thanks to some creative ideas discussed over a curry with my mate Al, I mapped out the shoot and discussed it all with Ago over the phone – the next day everything just fell into place. That’s how it’s been for the whole journey of this song. I hadn’t planned on releasing it as the first single off the album but it felt like it was all meant to be… the stars had aligned, you know!
HAPPY: Is this first single indicative of the rest of the album?
DANA: This is the slower, more country-roots song from the album. You can expect a bit more boogie and rock ‘n’ roll in the other tracks.
HAPPY: When can we expect the full album?
DANA: Soon, real soon… ha! I’ll keep the suspense a little longer.
HAPPY: Any other plans in the works?
DANA: I’m very excited to be back in Victoria next week to tour the single with my mate, Ayleen O’Hanlon! Come and say G’day!
Find A Way is out now, and you can catch Dana Gehrman live on her upcoming August tour:
10th August 2018 – The Winnebago Lounge, Caravan Music Club, Bentleigh VIC
11th August 2018 – The Merri Creek Tavern, Northcote VIC
12th August 2018 – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC
More info here.