Danny Kroha may be more associated with the sound of underground Detroit garage, but, on his new solo album he has again left that behind.
Alongside Mick Collins and Peggy O’Neil, Danny Kroha has been instrumental as a founding member of The Gories in revitralising and maintaining the stripped back Detroit garage-rock sound. On his sophomore album, Detroit Blues, he strips it back even further. The album is largely comprised of Kroha’s interpretations of traditional folk, blues and gospel songs from the public domain, created with an assortment of anachronistic DIY instruments like the one-string washtub bass, jug bass and The Diddley Bow.
The album follows on from his debut, Angels Watching Over Me, which was released in 2015, and which was also comprised of his reworkings of classic blues and gospel songs from the public domain. Watch his live interpretation of the song Poor Howard, which opens his new album, below:
The album is full of familiar and wild homemade sounds. There’s a DIY one string washtub bass made from a fire snake rail-heater that can found on some railroad tracks. There’s a lot of jug bass, blowing the bass notes over the jug opening, frequently heard in early rural American music but also with the 13th Floor Elevators, who ran their jug through an amplifier. The one string guitar, aka The Diddley Bow, on “Out Of The Wilderness is rare, aside from Danny, one of the last times we heard one was on One String Sam’s I Need A Hundred Dollars. You have your traditional assortment of washboards, tambourine and other percussion instruments, but during one session, Danny and the album supervisor tried out several pairs of Danny’s work boots to find the best tone for the foot stomps.
Instead of following all the rules rooted in early blues and old time country, Kroha mixed up all the traditions and kicked out a new old sound that could really only happen in Detroit – “I listen to both genres, for sure. I just wasn’t TRYING to make a record that sounds like that. It just came out more like a field recording than a studio recording.”
Detroit Blues is available to pre-order here and will be released on the 5th of February.
We will have a full review of the album soon!
Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.