Dan Zanes

Dan Zanes

Here are two things you should know right off about Dan Zanes, two things that set him apart from the huge and festive field of individuals who have in the past few years begun making music for families and people of all ages in a way that is, frankly, changing the face of America, or the sound of it, at least. First, he is making homemade family music and encouraging similar behaviors in friends and neighbors. Second, he is the guy who is always interested in singing along with people, people everywhere. Which brings us to his mission, if you can call it a mission: Zanes is introducing his musical friends to his neighborhood friends and then showing everybody not just that they, yes, can play together but that they can also feel pretty good while doing so. In this sense, Zanes is a 21st century version of the guy who in the old days used to conduct the town band from the gazebo, though in lieu of a gazebo he’s playing places like Carnegie Hall and the Melbourne International Arts Festival, where no matter how you say it good music is good. He is a ringmaster, introducing new songs and reconnecting people to songs that have always been there, and still are—it’s just that people forgot about them.

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