Just the other day we told you about members of Hanson, the Smashing Pumpkins, Fountains Of Wayne and Cheap Trick, who have convened under the banner of Tinted Windows. Dan Auerbach is half of the rockin' Akron, Ohio-based blues duo known as the Black Keys. Rather than go the supergroup route, Auerbach has broken it down and gone solo with the recent release of Keep It Hid.
Check out this clip of "Trouble Weighs A Ton," one of the fine cuts featured on the album.
Whywould the singer/guitarist of a duo, which plays songs co-written bythe main man, feel the need to go solo, you might ask? ApparentlyAuerbach wanted to play with other musicians, apart from his Keyspartner, drummer Patrick Carney. And he didn't want to go out and formanother band like fellow blues-duo frontman Jack White did when he tooka break from Meg and the White Stripes and created the Raconteurs with Brendan Benson and the Greenhornes rhythm section of drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence.
Howdoes Auerbach's solo material differ from his work with the Black Keys?"Black Keys songs start off as songs that I write on my own, you know,they're not Black Keys songs until I get together with Pat[Carney]--they kinda of morph, go through the Black Keys Blender," herecently told Aquarium Drunkard."All the songs you ever heard on the Black Keys started off as me witha notebook and my guitar, or a piano, just making stuff up, working ona tune. I don't really think about it as a Black Keys song, or a solosong or whatever, I just try to write a song. I guess all these songswere accumulating between tours, and records, I was recording on my ownsince I was 18. I guess it seems new to the public, the first timethey've heard any of the songs, but it's normal to me. I've just alwayskinda done it with my family, my friends. I'm just glad I could finallyget it out there."
Thosefamily members and friends include drummer Bob Cesare; and Auerbach'suncle, guitarist James Quine (seen in the video clip above and cousinof late underground guitar hero Robert Quine); and Jessica LeaMayfield, who dueted with Auerbach on "Things Ain't Like They Used ToBe," the final track on the Keys' 2008 album, Attack And Release.
True to the album's solo billing, Auerbach produced Keep It Hid,played drums, percussion, glockenspiel, and added backing harmonies,aside from handling lead vocals and guitar. Still, he went for afull-band approach on the bulk of the album. "It's more an ensemblekind of thing than the two-man stomp--a full band, playing in a roomlive, with organs, drums, bass, and guitars," he recently explained.
Auerbach is touring with Austin-based Haciendaas his backing band, starting Feb. 28 in Washington, D.C. Catch him ifyou can. In the meantime, check out these selected tracks from Keep It Hidbelow, ranging from the sparse, '60s-styled heartbreak ballad"Whispered Words (Pretty Lies)," the bluesy, distorted throb of"Heartbroken, In Disrepair" and "Prowl," and the sweet pop of "My LastMistake."
While Auerbach's solo material doesn't rock as hard as the Keys,it's more diverse and allowed him to stretch out as a songwriter, whichisn't a bad thing. What do you think?