June 16, 2018, was a meaningful day for local singer/songwriter Dane Page, and that date will remain especially significant to him each year from here on out. It was that day last summer that Page celebrated his own 25th birthday and the release of his debut album, Selma.
Almost exactly a year later, he’s shifting his focus from Selma with a June 22 show at The Evening Muse that will give fans a glimpse of new projects while in a way bidding farewell to the songs from his debut.
“This show is going to be a pivot towards [something new],” Page said. “I’m going to celebrate Selma one more time and then I’m going to shift to something else. I’m going to try a few of the songs that I’ve been writing.”
Throwing a last hoorah for Selma at The Evening Muse is fitting, considering that’s where he got his foot in the door of the Charlotte music scene. After playing a few bar gigs and open mic nights around town to undesirable results, he was able to squeeze himself into an unbooked time slot at the Muse with a fellow open mic performer in early 2016. Since then, he’s performed there every six months or so.
It’s essentially a second home for him, especially because his first home is right down the street.
“Opening, headlining, I’ve played The Evening Muse open mic night featured act once,” Page said. “I’ve been given a lot of great opportunities there.”
Most recently, on May 4, he opened for Tyler Ramsey, former lead guitarist for Band of Horses.
Before dropping Selma, Page released City to City, an EP recorded in his guitarist’s bedroom. It was a long, drawn-out process full of mistakes and do-overs — more of a lesson on how not to record an album, he said. He realized the stark contrast between performing music in a studio and singing on stage.
For Page, it’s a bit easier to “push” songs to where they need to be live, rather than in front of a studio mic.
“You have to figure out how to arrange it, how to compose it, and you have to do a little bit more forward-thinking than just me with an acoustic guitar on stage,” Page said. “That’s where all of my songs start: me with an acoustic guitar on stage. That’s how 99.999% of my songs are written.”
Selma’s title track is upbeat with a guitar twangs. Page’s vocals sew together the tempo of percussion with the melody of his lyrics. Clearly an ode to his fiancée, Heather, whom he met at Appalachian State University, this folk-rock tune has garnered attention from Glide Magazine, Ear to the Ground music blog and even made it to NPR’s Heavy Rotation playlist.
Sitting at the seams of rock and folk, Page masterfully delves into the art of bridging that musical gap. Not only is the title track a hit, but a quick listen followed by the swelling “Back to Me” and the strings and key changes of “Whiskey Wishes” will keep listeners enrapt by his smooth vocals and poetic lyrics. Page points to two classic American songwriters as his influences.
“During [the recording of] Selma, I was listening to Woody Guthrie a lot, and I was listening to Hank Williams a lot,” Page recalled. “Probably more Hank Williams than Woody Guthrie, but like the old-school country.”
After Saturday’s show, Page plans to turn the, well, page to a new musical endeavor, and he wants to release it as soon as he can. Page said he wants to hit the ground running for a new release.
“I don’t want it to be five more years before I put on a new record,” Page said. “I’m not big enough to wait that long between records.”