Editor's note: KSL.com does a periodic feature on local musicians/bands in the community. If you have an up-and-coming band/musician in mind, feel free to email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a contact email for the artist, if available.PROVO — To call Drew Danburry prolific is a vast understatement.
Since 2003, the indie artist who once called Utah County home has released 20 albums and recorded more than 200 songs. He recently undertook the laborious task of sifting through all those tracks to create the singular, 25-track retrospective album simply titled "Danburry 2003-2018."
So many ideas, so little time
The seemingly endless flow of songs is a result of a brain that never stops spinning, Danburry explained.
“I stopped keeping a journal around the time I started writing songs, so I suppose my songs have always taken the place of whatever observations I would've made in place of that,” he said.
“I think I'm pretty plagued by ideas and not enough time. For example, my son wants to make Rube Goldberg machine videos and we're drawing an animated superhero series,” Danburry added. “I'm also learning Japanese, working, writing songs, playing shows, reading books and ... it gets to be a lot. But there's certainly never an end to ideas. There's so many things to write songs about: pizza, life, humanity, politics.”
Quitting ... kind of
Back in 2010, Danburry decided to give up on songwriting entirely. After years of recording and touring, he traded his guitar for scissors, went to barbering school and opened up his own shop in Provo. But he found he couldn’t stop the music, only morph it into different forms.
Over the following nine years, he released two albums under the moniker For All the Girls, wrote an album of jingles in parody of the world’s most famous brands, released cassette tapes of low-fi electronica, and recorded hundreds of songs with dozens of collaborators.
A greatest hits of sorts
Now Danburry is finally ready to take a moment to look back at his career. But turning 15 years of music into one collection has been no easy task.
“(It was) way more difficult than just writing them,” Danburry said of the curation process. “How do you quantify the value of a song? How do you put together a collection that's cohesive but still shows the varied genres you've explored? How do you put together an album that's diverse but not tedious?”
There was no clear answer to his rhetorical questions, so he just followed his heart. He included jangly indie-pop songs (“Victoria”), country-tinged lullabies (“Tree on Wheels”), and a love song for his wife (“Lynette, I Love You”).
“They're all songs about an end and a beginning. They're all, essentially, moments in my life where I was completely broken, and they all marked an end to one aspect of my life and the beginning of another.”
Looking to the next beginning
Not one to stand still, Danburry is already looking forward to the next thing. Over the next few weeks, he’ll tour from his home in Montana, through Salt Lake City, and onto stops in Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.
“I've no illusions about where I fit in the music industry. I'm just happy that I live in a world where I can write songs and share them rather than, I don't know, work a factory job seven days a week on 12-hour shifts and then die of diphtheria (or consumption).”
The setlists will pull from the greatest hits album and anything else he feels like playing. “I just try and stay in tune with the moment and what feels right at the moment,” Danburry said.
And, always, Danburry has new songs to share.
“I recorded an album last April that I haven't released yet. It's the best album I've ever recorded, but I'm waiting to hear back from a few labels. I made a few hand-drawn animated videos that are about to be released for this album as well. I've got a couple bands I've been playing with here in Montana and I'm just always writing and being creative. It keeps me alive.”
Danburry will play at Kilby Court in Salt Lake City on Nov. 2.