Since the name of this blog is the 615, this week we are shining the light on a duo that marches to somewhat of a different drum beat - the DanBerrys. Comprised of husband and wife Ben and Dorothy DeBerry, the two have been creating quite a buzz within Music City as of late.
Their debut EP has been getting a lot of response for the couple, who admit their musical stylings are a little hard to place neatly in a nice little box. "We've been describing it as an Americana-Folk thing with a World beat. To me, I think it's an acoustic American fusion, because we draw from so many different influences. Dorothy is influenced by soul and blues music. We both share a love of folk music, and I'm a little more influenced by bluegrass, rock, and country. Our players all have similar type influences. To us, it just seems like we are playing music. But, people say that we are doing something that is a little fresh. I think that's because we haven't pinned ourselves to a specific genre."
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The two have known each other for years. Ben developed his love of music early, and Dorothy remembers when she noticed something a little different about him.
"When he was in eighth grade, and I was in seventh grade, he played 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' at a talent show. He had this teal electric guitar, and I fell in love him. We didn't even start dating for a few years later, but I never forgot him. I was just infatuated with him because of that."
The two dated through high school, then went their separate ways. But, as fate would have it, a chance meeting at a club in Cookeville, TN reignited the fire between the two -- both personally and musically. Ben said he's much the better for it on both levels, but Dorothy's talent at writing really inspired him.
"When we split up a few years before, she only knew a few chords, but when we got back together, she had developed her own style, and she had some songs she had written. I hadn't really gone in the original direction, as I was still playing other people's songs. She led me in that direction. You can play other people's music all day long, but if you want to express yourself musically, and get other people's attention, you have to do your own thing."
And, that "thing" is a unique musical mix. There's some degree of country in the melting pot, a little bit of Americana, some jazz, and it is all punctuated with the tight harmonies that are quickly becoming known around Nashville as their trademark. You can hear that come to the surface on such cuts as "Hard Times Come And Go" and "Tennessee Central 509."
Ben says they definitely took a hands-on approach to their EP. "We were playing with this local band, and it was just really fun and loose. One of our friends approached us after the show, and he saw something between us. We had just started talking about recording something. With the Internet, it's really easy to put something out there, and get feedback. So, I thought, 'If we record it, we'll know quick if this is something we should pursue.' He said he would love to record us pro bono, and his only stipulation is that we would have to do something with it. We learned a lot, and got a product that we're proud of. We recorded it in a house on old equipment, and we just kind of threw it together. It wasn't what most people would say was the most legit way, but it worked for us."
Dorothy is excited about the comments that they have received regarding their music, as well as their stage show. "There's a comfort level that has been fun. I feel like we're starting to make an impact, making a sound that people are hearing and enjoying it."
The two recently had a chance to open for Robert Earl Keen on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium. "People have been so excited," said Dorothy. "That's one of the things I noticed when we got the Ryman gig. Getting to watch family, friends, and teachers get so excited for us. But, they are having a great time watching us. The favorite thing about playing the Ryman was how much fun they were all having."
And, it seems that's just the beginning. Ben said, "We just feel like we are coming in to our own sound right now. We're getting more solid, a unified sound. I think we're both excited about the future."