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This Muffin has bite

Stina SiegPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Courtesy photo
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CARBONDALE, Colorado Dan Lotti knows there is always that pressure to be conventional. The musicians staring down thirty in a few months, and thats kind of age when people start to worry about security and equity and having a plan.So what? Ultimately, the only thing that really matters in your life is if youre happy and enjoying yourself, he said. And if you can find that, its really simple.For him, it is.Hes been making music since he was 12, for the last two years, hes been singing and playing guitar in the Southern roots band Dangermuffin. As he described their twangy, Americana sound, he was staring out at the ocean at his home in Folly Beach, S.C. He sounded relaxed and happy, in his element. Its not like hes always been there, though.Needless to say, he never got into the 9-5 kind of life. After college in Charleston, S.C., he moved up to New York City. He was looking for the dream (his words) and going up against a crush of competition. He met Dangers future drummer, Jim Donnelly, and together they played the kind of venues that would pay them in whiskey. Lotti stayed for two years, but he always knew that wasnt his home.Neither of us really belonged in the city, he said.It only takes a casual listen to their music to hear that, too.After Lotti moved back to the Carolinas, he and Donnelly started up the band with lead guitarist Mike Sivilli. Though their songs have elements of bluegrass and country, their homespun sound is harder to explain than that. Lottis voice is slightly scrappy, becoming all these different, tragic and romantic characters. Sometimes the tunes are happy and danceable. Sometimes they make you want to cry in your beer. Whatever category you want to put them in, at their core, the Dangermuffin guys are just telling stories.Its all about where the pen takes you, said Lotti, whos also the writer. Basically, youre just trying to get out of its way and see where it takes you.The upbeat Banjo Love, for example, takes him into the life of a blue collar character. In the pining, frustrated Outlaws Plan, hes someone who wants to break free of society. These people arent fully him, he knows, but he gets them.Its less about personal experience and maybe more about empathy, he explained.Thats their beauty. Though they have a rocking beat, theyre folk songs at their core. Theyre simple, understandable and universal.And Lotti thinks its time to share them with a wider audience. Though the band has released two CDs so far (2007s Beermuda and 2008s Emancee) they havent toured far away from the Southeast yet. In fact, their upcoming shows in Colorado mark the first time Lotti has been west of Nashville. Hes not worried about how these tunes will travel, though.

No, sitting there, by the ocean, he didnt sound worried about much at all. As he sees it, life isnt about being afraid. Its about going through with things you love, getting to the heart of the matter whatever that may be.For him, that would be music.Its whats addictive and satisfying and always different. Were so happy where we are now. Were just going to go and enjoy ourselves, he said, speaking for the rest of the boys. And if good things happen out of that, that would just sort of be a byproduct.Now, thats a plan.


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