Vancouver singer Dan Mangan, known for writing “jagged political lyrics,” feels himself softening in recent days.
He figures the birth of his second son, now seven months old, has a lot to do with it.
“I feel I’ve been writing songs with a little more hope and a little less instigation,” said the artist, who first became a father with the birth of his oldest son four years ago.“But with the way the world is at the moment, you really have to find the hope…”
The two-time Juno Award winner won’t be letting fans of his political stuff down, however, when he performs Thursday, July 20, at Bo’s Bar and Grill in Red Deer.
Since Mangan will be taking the stage solo, with an acoustic guitar, he figures audience members will be able to hear every pointed lyric far better than when he plays with a band. “You also have more licence to get into some storytelling and talk about the songs at these concerts,” he said.
Mangan’s last EP, Unmake from 2016, contains some cathartic music — including the protest song Whistleblower, which has been likened to his more pared-down early music, including Basket from his 2009 break-out album Nice, Nice, Very Nice.
Audience members can make requests at acoustic shows, and a lot of people clamour to hear Robots, and some of his older stuff — to which he’s happy to give the acoustic treatment.
“It’s funny, you can spend months and months killing yourself over every fine detail” of the lyrics, but when you play with a band, “no one can hear anything over the kick drum anyways,” Mangan said with a laugh.
The singer generally tries to strike a balance between doing intimate shows and festivals, solo concerts and band gigs because “I find when you do too much of one thing, you crave another… you do a run of festivals, and you ache to do clubs, if you do a bunch of solo shows, you ache for a band…”
In 2012 and again in 2016, the experimental-rock singer had the privilege of hearing his tunes with orchestral accompaniment when he performed with Symphony Nova Scotia. He described these gigs as “a great opportunity.”
These days he’s working hardest on achieving a good work-life balance — although work is always creeping up. “I’m in the beginning stages of recording my next album,” said Mangan, who can’t commit to a release date yet.
For more information about the Red Deer show, please contact the venue.