Songwriter Spotlight: Dan Jones

If I have a favorite kind of musician, it's the type with huge amounts of talent packed into a humble and understated personality. That would also be the way I describe Dan Jones. 

I met Dan while I was a student at Henry Ford Community College. He was a bass player that performed with the vocal jazz group I was in at the time. We got along musically and had a blast playing charts along with Kevin Dewey, the music director of the group. Dan read music well and played with clear tone and tasty style. 

He was also in a band that played original music, but had recently been booked for a few cover band gigs that one member was not interested in playing, so I was asked to sub. Though we called ourselves "The Motor City Seven," we were effectively Dan's group "Penumbrae" minus their guitarist and plus me. It was there I met several fantastic musicians including their drummer Randy Nelson, keyboardist Greg Drelinski, lead singer Lish. They were all very welcoming, friendly, and talented. The way they worked together influenced me to this day. I never saw any ego despite talent that could warrant it.  

...I had to have a copy...

When it came time to record my first album, I brought in Dan, Randy, and Greg for the sessions. And after such a great experience with the band, I had to have a copy of the Penumbrae album One Way Drive. There were so many great tunes and standout lyrics. Lish's vocal harmony choices captured my ear as well. The entire album was written by the one guy in the band I hadn't met because I had replaced him for that gig. The entire album except for the song that stood out the most: "She'll Never Know" written by Dan Jones.

I still don't even know what this song is about. The cryptic lyrics paint a picture that is somehow so detailed and so vague at the same time. In that regard, it shares a quality that I love about Anthony Kedis' work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song was the one on the album that always gave me "the feels"-- that emotion that is neither happy nor sad, but still felt so strongly. goal was to bring out even more of everything...

When I recorded my version of the song, my goal was to bring out even more of everything I loved about the song. It has a fantastic build over the course of the song, so I start even quieter to build even more. The harmony was great, so I highlight it throughout. A bed of Mellotron flutes add more of that same "something" emotion. 

If you enjoy my cover, be sure to check out Penumbrae's entire album. Unfortunately the band is no longer together, but you can catch Randy and Lish performing locally with The Bus Stop Poets. Dan toured for several years with The Ragbirds, and has been working on some orchestral music lately as well. Rumor has it the members of the band have plans to write together again. I personally hope so.




Leave a comment