Birmingham-based, Wolverhampton-born Dan Whitehouse is a singer/songwriter who’s beautiful, classic sounding songs have been described succinctly as ‘ Black Country Soul’. New album ‘That’s Where I Belong’ is a major artistic success. The nine songs on the Chris Clarke & Danny George Wilson produced set are confident, confessional, cohesive and engaging enough to catapult Whitehouse to a wide audience.
His early musical life was shaped by his radio DJ father’s vast record collection and whilst at University in London Dan soon picked up session guitarist work for signed acts, playing stages including Reading and Shepherds Bush Empire. In tandem with his own songwriting, Dan has given back by teaching and working as a music therapist. Playing music, often on customised instruments in schools, hospitals, and care homes and working with teenagers with learning difficulties and foster children.
In 2015 and following a series of home recorded releases Dan was invited to perform at Bristol Colston Hall as a duo with Lapsteel legend BJ Cole. Playing on the bill with Mark Kozelek and Tinarewen for Lau’s festival curation, Whitehouse was introduced and later signed to Reveal Records (home to Lau, Joan As Police Woman, Eddi Reader and more).
The album was recorded with a full band (comprising members of Danny and the Champs) live at Reservoir Studios, London. The end result is a collection of stunning and emotive performances as opposed to anything too considered or stagnant from being constructed over a long period of time. The sounds they made are alive sounding and you can hear the magic of the room in the band performances. After the main sessions, Dan took the same songs to Glasgow and recorded them solo, electric at the Kyoti studio with Mark Freegard (The Breeders, Eddi Reader and Del Amitri). That’s Where I Belong’s second disc features these ‘live in the studio’ versions.
Ear-worm opening track ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change It’ has a shuffling beat and tasty Hammond riff that Al Kooper (Dylan’s organist) would have been proud of, the song taking off with 60’s soul style Sax riff while Dan’ s vocal opines optimistically ‘were gonna make it through’. There is a strong positive energy to many of the songs such as ‘Work’; about the daily grind of brick building within relationships to keep family together. Whitehouse shows his emotive and contemplative side too with ‘Close Up’ – the story of a Syrian refugee and ballad ‘The Little Left Unsaid’. The album closes with ‘The Left Handed Way’ a song written by cult American songwriter Geoff Farina (Karate). That’s Where I Belong is a stunning collection of songs, an album that shouts from the rooftops and whispers from the depths without over staying it’s welcome.