It Takes a Team to Build the Dream • Dani Vitany & Ten Hands Tall

Best Country Female Vocalist - Best Country Band • Best Country Musician

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature, Review Music Awards,   From Issue 790   By: Robert E Martin

08th May, 2014     0

Ten Hands Tall galloped onto the regional musical scene two years ago like a fresh thoroughbred breaking out of the gate at the Kentucky Derby to capture the eyes, ears, and imagination of audiences & fans with a fresh, compelling, and original synthesis of energetic and modern Country Rock achieved through the chemistry of a rhythmic alliance between veteran bassist/vocalist Rick Brown and drummer Dan Currier, who along with guitarist Jerome Ratell and multi-instrumentalist Billy Gunther, joined forces with a duo of fresh young talent: the energetic & creative instrumentation provided by lead guitarist/vocalist Barry Forster, coupled with the powerfully focused delivery of vocal dynamo Dani Vitany.

Brown, Currier & Forster all worked together previously with Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway; and initially the three talked of forming their own all-male project until they co-headed a show with Vitany’s group at the time, Vengeance. “The minute we saw Dani perform it was a no-brainer,” notes Forster. “The goal for our sound was to assemble something together that was edgy, with strong vocal talent and lots of harmonies.”

Since their arrival on the scene the group has logged hundreds of shows throughout Michigan and Indiana, with highlight performances at the prestigious WYCD’s Hoedown in Motown, Jackson, Michigan’s ‘Country-Palooza’, and Michigan’s Big Country Music Fest in Frankenmuth.
Upcoming appearances include a May 16th show at Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, The Firewater Saloon in Chicago, the Willew Lounge on May 23-24; and the group will be performing at the WKCQ Free Country Music Fest on Ojibway Island Saturday, June 21st.

With their blend of youth and maturity, coupled with the engaging interplay of Gunther’s banjo and Forster & Ratell’s guitar-work, this is one group that possesses that rare ability to provide something musically engaging for audiences with a broad range of musical taste & preference.

Review: Since we last spoke at length when you were forming ‘Ten Hands Tall, how do you feel the band has evolved; and is it close to what you envisioned when you first formed the group?

Dan Currier: The biggest evolution is finding out what ‘our sound’ exactly is. We love rockin’ country, but we also love melodic story-tellin’ tunes, so how much of each are we? I think we are starting to get a handle on it and this is reflected in our new original material.

Rick Brown: We have grown & matured a great deal, adding Jerome & Billy on guitars and other instruments. It has changed the dynamics of the group in a way that I didn’t envision when we started, but it’s changed in a really good way and I’m very excited with our line-up. As far as being like what I envisioned, any change is going to alter the group. We are fare more versatile now than when we started. We still have the same ‘country punch’ we started with, but we just added a lot more layers and depth.

Review: What projects and sows are you working on that fans can look forward to over the next several months?

Currier: Recording our first E.P. is for sure what has us most excited. From a live performance standpoint it has to be opening for Montgomery Gentry and Frankie Ballard at the KCQ Free country Fest. We've been fortunate enough to open for quite a few nationals including The Lacs, Dustin Lynch, and Chris Daughtry, but this will be in front of some 90,000 people.

Brown: On May 2nd we enter the studio, Advanced Recording Studio in Royal Oak to record an all-original EP that we’re trying to have finished and pressed for the KCQ Country Music Fest at the end of June. We’re proud to be this year’s ‘Island Band’ supporting this year’s headliners. Plus we have a taping for a radio show/interview called Homegrown on WIN98.5 in Battle Creek with Kody Mac. We have edged our way into the western side of the state and are doing very well over there.  We are also opening up for the up-and-coming JJ Lawhorn at The Machine Shop in Flint, the Shields Festival locally, and the Party on McCarty. We have a really busy schedule shaping up for us.

Review: What was your reaction to winning the respective honors that you received at this year’s Awards Ceremony; and what do you feel most distinguishes your sound and band within the Country or Alt-Country genre?

Currier: I am so proud of Barry and Dani for their awards. They have both been on the scene quite some time, even at their young age. But now that they are spotlighted a bit in THT they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. I, as a drummer, was super stoked for the band award. I feel it is my job to help everyone in the band shine and not overshadow anyone.

I’m not sure what distinguishes our sound, but I do know that we work very hard on details – a lot of attention is paid to meter, accents and dynamics.

Brown: We were very grateful and humbled because there is so much talent in this area. We work very hard at what we do and it was really cool to have touched people enough to have them vote for us. I feel really fortunate that we have made such an impact in such a short time and am still very surprised. As for what distinguishes our sound, I would say high energy for sure, youth; there is a natural click that we seem to have all together, from the tight rhythm section to the multi-lead vocals to the outstanding guitar work. As for the genre, I don’t think you can put us in the Alt-Country category. We’re still pretty mainstream Modern Country with an edge!

Review: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the group at this stage of the game?

Currier: I would say that it’s the thing that faces all bands trying to make it to the next level: Working Capital. We have a few beautiful people currently helping us on our projects, but turning heads in Nashville is not cheap.

Most of my career has been spent in the Metro-Detroit market. Now that I am in the Mid-Michigan scene, I am blown away by all the talent. There is a kinship between most of the bands that I didn’t expect. That is why I look forward to the Review Awards night. It gives us the opportunity to mingle and have ‘our’ night.

Brown: Staying fresh, honing our original sound, recording more, having patience trying to find more hours in a day, trying not to make any mistakes so we can move up to the next level, which is what we set our sights on since we formed.


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