Daniel’s new record Sojourn of a Burning Sun out now. Read the review of this album from NoteWorthy Music.

Published August 7, 2020

Part 2 in our series titled 20:20 — 20 questions, 20 answers

In this edition, Daniel Rodriguezfounding member of Elephant Revival, who calls Lyons, Colorado, home—adds his voice to our growing chorus of artists. We feel the heat as he describes a narrow escape from the tour-bus fire that claimed “everything” the band owned. We experience a sort of projected pride when he tells of the day Stevie Wonder suggested they should work together. And we smile when he shares what makes him smile … and pretty much throughout this week’s 20:20.

~ NWM

Daniel Rodriguez | Photo by Meleah Shavon

Daniel Rodriguez | Photos by Meleah Shavon

20:20 with Daniel Rodriguez

NWM 1): What was your first concert as a fan?
Daniel: My first concert as a fan was The Other Ones (The Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia) with Hot Tuna and Rusted Root opening. I was completely shocked that people were smoking pot indoors at a stadium.

NWM 2): Name three things that make you smile.
Daniel: I love seeing people in their authenticity—that always makes me smile. I love seeing a band in their flow state—where it’s the momentum of the music that is carrying them, and they are not just going through some memory of what to do. Seeing a bald eagle always makes me smile.

NWM 3): You headlined Red Rocks on multiple occasions. That’s a noteworthy high-water mark. What are a couple of other shows or venues that stand out?
Daniel: Playing the Beacon Theater in New York City was a high mark. It’s a beautiful, historic theater, and we played there the night after Steve Martin broke his stand-up fast of many years on that same stage.

Playing Main Stage at Telluride Bluegrass Festival always brings a smile from ear to ear.

I played a memorial for a dear fan who passed away in an avalanche. Stevie Wonder played it as well. He sat front row while we played, and I sat front row while he played. We all hung out back at the father’s house after the memorial and when it came time for Stevie to leave—he embraced us and said “We should do something together.”

Playing Main Stage at Telluride Bluegrass Festival always brings a smile from ear to ear.

NWM 4): What is your favorite Daniel Rodriguez composition?
Daniel: My favorite composition of mine is a song I wrote over the pandemic lockdown. I feel so good about this song, and I can’t wait to record it. Though, if I had to choose one that is already recorded, it would have to be “Steal The Night Away.”

NWM 5): What not-so-obvious aspect of your life has been changed by the pandemic?
Daniel: Turns out I like being home—more so than not.

NWM 6): Strangest road story?

I woke up to my bunk filled with raging flames.

Daniel: I was on tour with Elephant Revival in North Carolina—and I woke up to my bunk filled with raging flames. We all evacuated the bus and watched it burn down along with everything we owned inside of it. That day I appeared on Fox News in my underwear.

NWM 7): Who would we be surprised to find on your playlist?
Daniel: Tough to say who you’d be surprised by. … Probably “Crazy” by Seal.

NWM 8): Do you think 2020 will be looked back upon as a songwriters’ renaissance?
Daniel: I have heard that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet during the plague.

When I ask some of my friends if they have been writing over the pandemic, I get a 50/50 response. I, personally, have been writing a lot, and 2020 ain’t over yet.

If people aren’t writing that much during 2020, it will certainly spark writing as a result of 2020. Seems like it will spark a renaissance of all kinds, as well as the opposite of a renaissance for certain people.

NWM 9): Favorite movie?
Daniel: The Big Lebowski.

NWM 10): Prince or Bowie?
Daniel: Bowie.

NWM 11): Where were you, and what were you doing, when you realized COVID-19 had just changed your life as a performance artist.
Daniel: I was in my kitchen making a smoothie.

NWM 12): What is a favorite cover you perform?
Daniel: “Buckets of Rain” by Bob Dylan.

Daniel Rodriguez | Photo by Meleah Shavon

NWM 13): What instrument holds the most fascination for you and do you play it?
Daniel: I’m fascinated by a fiddle/violin played really well. My father used to play and gave me his old fiddle. I bust it out once in a while. By no means am I a violinist, though.

NWM 14): What are your before-you-go-on-stage rituals?
Daniel: Clear my head. Warm up my voice. Make a beverage. Connect with the other musicians.

NWM 15): What in particular fuels your inspiration? Tell us about your space or what is most necessary for your writing.
Daniel: A song or inspiration can come at any moment and from any walk of life. You have to be prepared and ready to translate at all times—and if I’m not ready, I try to hold on to a thread of it for a later time.

What’s most necessary is making yourself available to the song.

If I’m home, I’ll find a peaceful place and bring along a guitar and some writing material. You can’t always have peace and quiet, so learning how to create that space in your mind despite your surroundings is also key.

Sometimes the chaos of a subway in New York City is an inspiration, or the quiet of a valley—and, somehow, they can make it into the same composition. Themes and song nuggets can come from any angle at any given moment.

What’s most necessary is making yourself available to the song.

NWM 16): What are your non-musical gifts/talents?
Daniel: I can juggle, make a bad pun, cook a decent meal, surf an ocean wave.

Daniel Rodriguez | Photo by Meleah Shavon

NWM 17): Has anything positive come out of the COVID shut-down?
Daniel: Sure. … A reevaluation of societal function. Being home for longer than a week. Writing a whole record in two months. Seeing how vulnerable we are as humans to a system.

NWM 18): What song/album could you play on repeat?
Daniel: I’d probably get tired of any album if I listened to it too much. … But from front to back it would have to be Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan.

NWM 19): If you could see anyone from throughout history perform who would it be?
Daniel: Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Buddy Holly, Billie Holiday, The Grateful Dead, Nirvana, Bill Monroe, Nina Simone, Dylan with The Band, the list goes on. …

NWM 20): What is one thing you would want our readers to know about which we might not know to ask?
Daniel: I have a record coming out on August 28th called Sojourn of a Burning Sun. It has some songs that I was going to record on the last Elephant Revival album that never happened—as well as some new ones I wrote in the aftermath.

I spent a lot of time in the Ozarks and would love to make it back there once this all blows over.

Daniel’s favorite recorded song of his … so far.

Caution: It’s a gateway drug.

“Steal the Night Away”

Daniel Rodriguez

Daniel Rodriguez

A Colorado-based acoustic-folk singer-songwriter who was co-founder of the highly successful transcendental folk band, Elephant Revival, which went on hiatus after its third headlining gig at Denver's renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater in May 2018. Needing to fill the musical void, Rodriguez immediately headed out on tour as a solo artist and hasn't looked back. He’s been chosen as main support for such acts as Jim James, Gregory Alan Isakov, Mandolin Orange, Josh Ritter, Fruition, John Craigie, and many more.

To learn more about Daniel and his work and to buy stuff go here: 

https://www.drodriguezmusic.com/

You may enjoy our previous 20:20 with Brandon Moore.

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