IT’S STARTING TO LOOK LIKE KOREY DANE’S TIMELESS TIME HAS COMEBy Alex Roman III
Somebody once described singer-songwriter Korey Dane’s sound as so classic “it’s as if you poured yourself a drink and dusted off an old 45 to find a lost record nobody has heard before. Dane and his band—Tess Shapiro, Alex Medina, John Garbutt, Tyler Juarez and Jacob Minnis—seem to come from a different time…and tend to carry listeners into a state where there seems to be no time at all.
It happened to me during the song, “To Mona.” As Dane’s voice intertwined with Shapiro’s hauntingly gorgeous style, I suddenly found myself considering a long-ago moment in my life, reflecting with melancholy on its circumstances and losing myself—not to mention track of the lyrics, which for all I knew could have been about washing clothes.
How do Dane and his collaborators do it?
“Tess will sing some harmonies first try and it will just work—she’s one of the most talented people I have met,” Dane says, not exactly revealing a formula; apparently, it’s something of a mystery to him, too. “I write all of the songs and then try to articulate the ideas I have for them the best I can. The band is amazingly talented and comes up with great parts really fast.”
Dane and his band are headlining the Green is Greater Festival, the free six-hour celebration and fundraiser for local environmental groups that will unfold at The Gaslamp restaurant on Sept. 18 beginning at noon. The Green is Greater Festival is jointly presented by the EgretsNotRegrets.com blog by Heather Altman—who just founded a scholarship fund—The Gaslamp and Greater Long Beach.
Dane grew up in Southern California in a family that bounced around a bit before finally settling in Los Alamitos, although he spent lots of time in Long Beach. He says he used to follow his father around while he worked on old cars, until his dad got his son involved in skateboarding. Music came later for Dane—only about five or six years ago—and his dad had something to do with that, too.
“I had a guitar lying around that my dad had bought me,” Dane recalls. “I messed around with it here and there and it ended up sticking.”
Ended up? If he says so. Dane began playing music seriously when he was 15. He released his first record, For the Kite Flyers, in October 2009. This month he turns 21.
Dane is influenced by artists like singer-songwriter Paul Simon and American novelist John Fante, but he met Shapiro—the seemingly perfect vocal yin to his yang, through his mother.
“I get asked a lot about how Tess and I met, and I wish there was more of a story behind it,” Dane says. “My mother is an English teacher at the high school we both went to and she happened to have some of Tess’s demos. I reached out to her and it was all systems go after that.”
Dane is coming off a win at Buskerfest, last month’s finale to Long Beach’s Summer And Music concert series. “Amazing,” he says, pointing out that his band is a quiet group that had some difficulty projecting its sound because of the event’s strict no plug-in rules.
“We just went with it and hoped it worked,” Dane says. “When we won, the whole band was blown away. I’m still amazed that things have been working out like this. I’m definitely counting my blessings.”
The prize for winning Buskerfest was five days of free recording time at The Compound, the highly regarded Long Beach recording studio. That’s where Dane plans to record the follow up to Kite Flyers.
Dane has a lot of aspirations for that pending project, but when asked whether they include becoming as well known and successful as another young Long Beach singer/songwriter, Avi Zahner-Isenberg of Avi Buffalo, Dane said he hasn’t really thought about it.
“I admire all of Avi’s hard work and I’m really happy for him and his band, but I can’t write a pop tune to save my life,” Dane explains. “So, I think we might be on opposite ends.”