8 Albums You Didn't Know The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach Produced
Bluesy rocker Dan Auerbach appears most comfortable in the role of frontman, as he fronts both The Black Keys and his more recently formed project The Arcs. Both bands have delivered well-received albums and spawned a series of hits, though not many know Auerbach often takes on a less vocal role, as he has also produced several albums.
Considering the guitarist and vocalist often sticks within the wheelhouse of garage rock when recording his own material, many of the artists he produces deliver similar sound in terms of grit and edge. Though that hasn’t prevented Auerbach from branching out and working with artists who are more sonically diverse as well. From the familiar tones of rock, to sultry pop (and even a touch of country), here are eight albums Auerbach has produced:
1. Tell Me I’m Pretty - Cage the Elephant
Auerbach’s sonic stamp is apparent on what was Cage the Elephant’s fourth studio album. Years prior to working together, Cage opened for The Black Keys on a handful of tour dates when one night Cage guitarist Brad Schultz approached Dan about the concept of collaborating. The result was a success, as the album reached No. 3 on the Alternative Albums charts.
2. All or Nothin’ - Nikki Lane
Though Lane had her reservations at first when it came to fully trusting Auerbach’s calls, she later ended up with a solid record that included her hit track “Right Time.” Aside from working together in the studio, the two linked up on stage in 2013 to perform a rendition of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton’s serenade “Just Someone I Used to Know.”
Ray LaMontagne had been trying to work with Auerbach for five years, until his dream was finally realized in Supernova. While several songs share similarities in sound to the softer side of The Arcs, the rest of the album delivers upbeat, feel-good tracks such as the hit “Supernova.”
4. Ultraviolence - Lana Del Rey
Auerbach wasn’t the sole producer for the singer’s sophomore effort, though he was responsible for several of the record’s hits such as “West Coast,” which peaked at No. 17 on the Hot 100. While the two were candid about their musical differences, Del Rey has said in interviews that working with Auerbach helped her gain confidence and made her feel interesting. The two met through mutual friends while Auerbach was still working on LaMontagne’s record.
5. Head in the Dirt - Hanni El Khatib
Auerbach produced Khatib’s sophomore album, and in turn helped propel the emerging rocker to the next level. The two met by chance at a bar in Paris, in which Khatib was DJing at following a show. The two ended up sharing the turntable the rest of the evening and later decided to take their kindred taste in music back to the studio.
6. Hypnotic Nights - JEFF the Brotherhood
Though this record was the band’s seventh studio album, it marked their first major label release. The rock duo rightfully called upon Auerbach — also one half of a rock duo — to help production run smoothly, as it clearly did. Tracks like “Sixpack” showcase JEFF the Brotherhood diving into the DIY aesthetic and distortion often heard on the Black Keys’ work.
7. Locked Down - Dr. John
Auerbach has been a long time fan of Dr. John, though when it came to producing the iconic artist’s upcoming album he needed encouragement from a friend. Auerbach was urged to visit Dr. John in New Orleans, where he first pitched the idea of the two working together. Dr. John has said Auerbach was honest with him and that in the end he trusted his spirit, which told him to take the risk of trying something new. The risk paid off, as the album peaked at No. 1 on the Blues Albums chart.
8. Tell Me - Jessica Lea Mayfield
Aside from working together on music, Auerbach and Mayfield share another similarity in that they grew up less than 30 minutes away from each other in Akron and Kent, Ohio, respectively. While Auerbach primarily records at his studio in Nashville, the two laid down this album in his hometown -- where they also recorded Mayfield’s 2008 release, With Blasphemy, So Heartfelt.