The following article was posted as part of my work for the Scotsman.com site Under the Radar…
In our profile article last June, we predicted Dan Willson’s Withered Hand was set for big things. Sure enough, the last ten months have completely redefined success for the Edinburgh-based father of two.
Good News, his debut album, was released on SL Records to considerable acclaim, leading to a whirlwind of activity; even Willson describes himself as “almost too busy”.
He has only just returned from an exhausting 15-stop European tour supporting Icelandic marvel Benni Hemm Hemm, and while his travels took Withered Hand to new audiences across the continent, it also resulted in some oddly humbling moments.
“Apart from being generally very well received, I was totally amazed to meet a handful of people at the shows who already had my records and knew the words to my songs,” Willson says.
Ever loyal to his Fence Collective friends, he describes Homegame as the “highlight of every year, surely”.
Depending on the availability of his musical friends, Withered Hand can be a solo act or a large band ensemble. The turn of the year saw a sold-out UK solo tour, supplemented by an invitation from King Creosote to play at one of his London shows.
As for new material, Willson is approching it at his own pace: “I have more songs that nobody has heard but I need time and space to finish them and then time to decide how they exist in relation to the band set-up. And I don’t have lots of time and space right now.”
Looking forward, there are even more enticing events in store, as Willson plays his “biggest solo show to date” as the special guest of Canada’s mesmerising Woodpigeon at London’s Union Chapel this Thursday (6 May).
First things first though… Willson has an entire European tour’s worth of sleep to catch up on.