Tom Dunne's Music & Me: Passion for Tashian, and a Bacharach silver lining 

Daniel Tashian, the former Silver Seas singer,  may not be a household name, but his work with Kacey Musgraves and Burt Bacharach shows why he's well worth exploring 
Tom Dunne's Music & Me: Passion for Tashian, and a Bacharach silver lining 

Daniel Tashian on stage with Kacey Musgraves at the Grammy Awards last year. 

Picture the scene: A mid-morning radio studio. In one corner a man is crouching beside a pile of hamburgers and a bucket. He is attempting to break the world record for the ‘most burgers eaten in one hour.’ The bucket is for safety. In another corner a man is making ‘the Friday Cocktail.’ It’s 11 AM.

I survey all this and think ‘all is good.’ But suddenly the producer motions towards me. A guest who had said they were ‘very unlikely’ to be free is on the way in and is performing! The same studio scene looks very different now. I howl ‘oh please, Jesus, don’t let him find me like this!’ I eye up Burger Man and type ‘can we cancel him’ on a screen to the producer. She shakes her head, apparently the burgers are sponsored. I point at the mixologist and type ‘him?’ 

She tells me that his guest today is my wife, also on the way in. ‘Do you want to cancel your own wife?’ she asks. I crumble. But, amazingly, when the artist arrives he laughs it all off. “I’ve done American radio,” he says, as if that is all we need to know.

So for the next hour, to the sound of chinking glasses and mastication, Daniel Tashian, of The Silver Seas plays and sings. It is unutterably beautiful. Their album Chateau Revenge, is my album of 2011, a mix of Hall and Oates and classic pop that has seen them play Jools Holland and dates all over Europe.

At the end I thank him from the bottom of my heart. I can’t believe he has landed in studio on this of all days. But when I ask what’s next for the Silver Seas, he shrugs a little. I know that shrug. “We’ll see what happens,” he says.

Daniel Tashian in action with his former band,  The Silver Seas. 
Daniel Tashian in action with his former band,  The Silver Seas. 

Fast forward to last week. I am wondering if Daniel might have new stuff so I type his name into Tidal, my steaming service of choice. There must be an error, I think. Instead of Daniel, it’s giving me songs by Burt Bacharach. As I’m trying to figure out what is going on I notice Daniel is listed as a co-writer. The penny drops: Daniel is writing songs with Burt Bacharach!

I discover they met via the Grammy Awards. ‘Why was Daniel at the Grammys?’ I wonder. I discover he was picking up one of the two Grammys he won for co-writing and producing Kacey Musgraves' number one album Golden Hour. I put it on. It’s pure Silver Seas, melodic, melancholy, beautiful. My, my Daniel, I think, haven’t you been busy?

As luck would have it, Daniel still takes my calls. I tell him I’m launching a slot on the show called 'I Told You He Was Good'. I tell him he’s episode one and to tell me everything and leave nothing out. 'Everything', it turns out, is quite a lot.

It transpires I was right about the Silver Seas. 

It was nice to play Europe, but after we paid the bar tab there was certainly nothing left to bring home to your wife.

So he took extra work, writing and producing. This was going very well - actually very, very well - but one night, playing in a band at an industry function it was about to get even better.

“Kacey Musgraves [a huge and very cool American singer, songwriter] came back stage. I knew a bit about her. We chatted and said she’d love to write a Bee Gees type song,” he explains.

Maybe she knew it or maybe she didn’t but she was talking to a Bee Gees fanatic. “I just took out the guitar,” Daniel said, “On such things your life can turn.” It was this success that led to the phone call. “I was in a gas station. I never normally answer my phone but something said ‘get this’. It was Bacharach.’’ That very night, Daniel sent him a lyric. It was called Blue Umbrella. A few weeks later he was in Burt’s LA studio listening to what Burt had done to it. “It was incredible. I looked around the studio, the walls with his awards, and I won’t lie, I cried a little.” 

The EP is called Blue Umbrella. It might be useful for those of you writing songs and maybe labouring for little reward to give it a listen. Because sometimes, the good guys really do win! Unlike Burger Man, who failed after only seven burgers.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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