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Dana Klipp / Blog

from the archives

Over the past 30 years I have played a lot of old time music,which now falls under the larger genre of Americana or Roots if you will.One of those ventures was and is, The old time country duo,Northwater which also features harmonica player and singer Cliff Chandler.We started playing music together in 1984.It was at this time that I met Elizabeth Cotton and her family and enjoyed playing music with her and granddaughter Johnine Rankin for 3 years up unto her death.My brother Ross was living in Norfolk and then New Jersey.He was playing fiddle and mandolin as well as guitar,discovering the music simultaneously to my journey.When he would come up to Syracuse to visit with his family we would get together and play.Often we would play music with Cliff as well and logged some good performances on Bill Knowltons bluegrass ramble,a local weekly radio show on WCNY in central New York.When my brother Ross moved back to Syracuse in the fall of 1989,we started playing together as the Klipp Brothers and then formed a trio known as the Red Eye Rangers along with Rick Mason( a former guitar student,who liked that style of music.We continued playing thru to 1995 or 96.I share these,not as present work,but because they should be heard by fans of this music. Peace Dana Klipp

Last Year in Music

During the past year I have been swept up in writing and producing songs.After having played for 45 years and developing a large bin of musical skills,the elephant in the room was the fact that I didn't have any real product of my own.That is not to say that my music making has been for naught.2 interactions of mine have helped to stamp me with some musical credibility.Back in 1984,I had been looking for somewhere to hang my hat.I was teaching ,heavily into classical guitar,teaching myself banjo,fiddle, guitar fingerpicking styles of Elizabeth Cotten,Mississippi John Hurt predominantly and bled off into other delta and ragtime players.1984 was that year that I met and started playing with someone I knew from the town I lived in(Chittenango,NY)Cliff Chandler had been playing harmonica since childhood.We got together to play because we were bored.After hammering away at it for a while we discovered that we liked to play old time music.With its roots bordering against other familiar styles(ie,blues,bluegrass,country)we started to focus.Inspired by the likes of The New Lost City Ramblers,Bill Knowlton's Bluegrass Ramble radio show and other old recordings we officially became Northwater.Within the year we were playing on the Bluegrass Ramble and carved out a niche as old time music perfomers.In 1987 we journeyed down to Murfreesboro TN,to play at Uncle Dave Macon Days.We also garnered second place in the old time band competitition.In 1984 I also became friends with Elizabeth Cotten and her family.Originally answering an ad,placed by her grandaughter,Johnine Rankin at the music school where I taught,I started helping Johnine with her songs as well as sitting down and playing music with Libba.They were living in Syracuse at that time.Over those next 3 years,I traveled and played with Johnine and Elizabeth and met at least a few of my musical heroes.One of those being Mike Seeger who was responsible for recording Libba's Folkways albums and was a founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers.These events from that period in my life have given me a special appreciation for the music and while it doesn't inform every note I play, it certainly is running in the background.Cliff and I still perform as Northwater when we have opportunity and old time music gets older as we get older.While there are live recordings from radio and shows we have done I would like to capture us in the controlled setting of the studio.(I guess I am a control freak after all.)Some of you who have listened to my posts on Reverb Nation like the old time and tradtional tunes that I play.Others might be drawn to my original tunes.I myself have always been eclectic in my musical taste.If you are interested in hearing Northwater you can check out Videos that are on my Youtube site.

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This is how I come up with some stuff.I'll be working on a song and I discover a sound or patch that appeals to me.I get sidetracked and will start a new project just to plant a seed that I can elaborate on at a later date.Thats how this composition came about.For maximum effect i would loop it for about 48 hours.

Sacred and Profane

Son House,the delta blues musician,played hard edged bottleneck guitar,drank and in general lived the same hard life that blues musicians were want to do.He was also involved in the Baptist church.His story echoes the dilemma that many other musicians of his time frame have faced.How can you play this raggedy sometimes happy sometimes sad, music without offending members of the congregation,the church elders or even God himself?.Elizabeth Cotten spent a large portion of her adult life not striving to play her instrument because of its conflict with her religion.Music can be a church in itself.Many of us players can hover between sacred and profane.Sometimes you have to play what you are feeling at the moment instead of sticking to close to your blueprint.These are 2 church hymns that Libba recorded on her first album.(thank you Mike Seeger)I found this recording that I did of them a while back.Welcome to my church.Happy New Year

Hey Hey Baby

This is a Big Bill Broonzey classic.I recorded this version in 2007.


Another tune played by my music friends,the Blues Btards.At Cliffs Christmas bash 12/2007.I added some wacky trax in the middle.Think/Bluesbreakers meet King Crimson.

Walkin In The Park

Here is another garage classic from the archives.Once again featuring The Blues Btards.11/13/2007 The boys who played are Andy Agrasto{drums} Don Mackay{bass} Cliff Chandler{harp} Mark Cloutier{guitar} Dana Klipp {guitar/vocal}doing the Muddy Waters classic.

Who Are The Blues B__tards?

Collectively I have Known and played with these musicians for a bunch of years.The "Blues B_tards" was a garage project from roughly 2007 thru 2009.Let me introduce you all.Don Mackay( bass) On all other recordings besides 4/15/2008 the Drummer would have been Andy Agrasto,but on this recording we have Jay Fogus on drums.Cliff Chandler(Harmonica,trumpet vocals,anything that isn't nailed down(my partner in Northwater and other blues crimes)Mark Cloutier(Guitar,vocals)I have known Mark since he was still back in high school.He became a student of mine and we have have played a bunch of good music over the years.Currently he plays with The Double Barrel Blues Band and records his own solo albums as well.Playing with these guys is always fun. On this recording (People People) Mark plays Fender Strat(SRV model I think)and sings.I am playing the ES-347.This was recorded 4/15/2008 in Cliff Chandlers garage.Got lots of good recordings and I will find the best to share with you.Good Music Makes Good Friends

Make a Friend of your Fear

Its been a while since my last post.When I started out on this site,I was posting my renditions of tradtional songs and styles.Old timey string band music,acoustic blues,etcetera.I have as of late been posting original compositions,which for the most part are a lot different(in fact you could say that some of it is down right wacked.I didn't see the point of trying to maintain 2 different sites.My new songs are not happy by any means,but composing has been extremely cathartic during a period of financial and emotional turmoil.It gives me a way of laughing at life.If you are enjoying these tunes a little than it was worth my efforts.It may be a while before I can upload any more music(Technical crisis on the homefront)I can be reached via this website orFacebook


Todays sermon concerns the topic of labeling.If I have been cursed by one problem thru my years in music it would be(besides lack of monetary recompense) the inability of said fans to put a label on what type of music it is exactly that I play.It's not that the music I play is confusing,because most of the stuff I do is elemental and heartfelt(No 15/8 time signatures for the sake of being clever.)I like to play blues,I like to play screamin electric guitar,I play old time string band,I love all the great acoustic country blues that there is to be had.I could go on If I wanted but you would be asleep before you had finished the list.This would be away of explaining the music that I choose to represent to you on this site,my main intention being at this point to share with you some of my musical journeys.When I signed up for this site I was confronted with a list of musical genres,from which I was supposed to pick one that would sum up where I am at musically.Sorry,but that cannot be done.I have been on this planet for 60 good years and I have a great love for all of the styles of music that I have learned to play over the years.Every choice was heartfelt andf I threw myself into all of those with great love and abandon.I have played in enough bars to know that some would look upon this as bad career move.Can't help it.Most of the bands I played in usually followed the same philosophy and probably left bar owners and listeners a little confused.At the risk of sounding condescending,all I can say is that it felt right to me.OK lets cut to the chase.Even tho I chose Americana as my official genre for reverb nation,I love to play electric guitar along with other music of all stripes.Not going to cover King Crimson tunes here,but posting a nice electric blues tune isn't that far off the mark.(Isn't blues ultimately an American Music?Throw off the shackles of labeling and enjoy the ride.Peace and Out Dana Klipp