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Dan Johnson and his Expert Sidemen have been hosting revues of Americana music in their hometown of Albany, NY since early 2011. Their sound reflects the broad diversity of music they have helped bring to town in their role as host band: vintage jazz, bluegrass, honky-tonk, western swing, alt country, anti-folk and more. Their debut album, “Sleep on the Way,” evokes the music of Steve Earle, Hayes Carll, and Townes van Zandt, showcasing the band’s rich and lustrous sonic palette featuring pedal steel, accordion, mandolin, banjo, bass, drums and guitars.
Dan Johnson is a writer who began his musical career as a poet. Taking his lead from the Beats he explored Eastern religions and traveled widely throughout the United States and Europe. In his travels he came across The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan and the Band, an album which became a touchstone for him as a musician. He spent time in the late 90s in Cambridge, MA, where he became interested in bluegrass music and the songwriter scene in Boston. In 2002 he took a songwriting workshop with New England singer-songwriter Bob Franke. This workshop got Dan started translating his poetry into song. Since then, he has studied the bluegrass mandolin style of Bill Monroe with Lou Martin. He also spent a year studying harmony and composition with Don Byron. He spent three years with Albany-based bluegrass band Three Quarter North before branching out and starting his own band.
The Expert Sidemen are Pete Murphy (bass), Max Figarsky (drums), Roger Noyes (pedal steel, electric guitar) and Brian Elsenbeck (accordion).
Dan Johnson and his Expert Sidemen bring it all back home. Dan and his boys are contentedly churning out some of the finest and most thoughtful music to be found. Don’t miss out on this rapidly evolving band.
"This isn't the kind of music you can just stumble upon on a regular basis. All parts of the classic bluegrass greats come to light with this band." - Phanart Pete Mason
"Dan Johnson is not only one of the area’s premiere songwriters; he has also become an impressive Impresario and tireless promoter of Americana music in the upstate area. Over the past months he has been hosting the Tuesday Night Americana Music Club Series at Valentines on New Scotland Avenue in Albany. To say Valentines is an authentic rock and roll bar is an understatement. For a couple of decades it has hosted countless unforgettable shows and given a stage for every aspiring band and musician in town.
"Johnson says 'I like to present not only traditional music such as songs from the likes of Woody Guthrie and the Harry Smith anthology, but new songs written with the same spirit, celebrating and describing the hopes and dreams and struggles of regular folks. Our region and our times provide plenty of inspiration.
"Dan Johnson’s songwriting surely lives up to that statement. He and his band The Expert Sidemen have been consistent in serving up a tasty stew of music. With Dan’s deep catalogue of originals, he also sprinkles his shows with an ever changing list of covers so every night is unlike any other.” -Dave Walsh