It’s back to the UK to shine my spotlight on the young singer/songwriter Dan Jeffries, who hails from Plymouth, England. He released his debut EP Urban Stories in 2015, and will soon be dropping his sophomore EP. I recently discovered Dan and his music, and in advance of the new release, which I will be reviewing later, I’m now featuring Urban Stories.
Before digging into the EP, here’s a bit of background on Dan I found on his Facebook page. He got interested in singing at a young age, and started playing guitar at 17. With no formal music education and just one guitar lesson, he found inspiration from artists he loved while growing up, especially Green Day, Guns N Roses, Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Oasis, the Ramones and the Arctic Monkeys. Consequently, his music style can best be described as a hybrid of 90s alternative rock, punk, blues and old school rock’n’roll. Dan started out playing electric guitar, but has since gone back to playing mostly acoustic after friends suggested it would better suit the smaller, more intimate venues he’d been playing. He still uses his electric guitar to create riffs for some of his songs though, due to his special fondness for classic guitar played by legends like Slash and Izzy Stradlin.
Urban Stories features three outstanding tracks, with lyrics inspired by Dan’s personal experiences and feelings on everyday life. The first track “Fame and Fortune” immediately grabs hold with a thunderous riff and pulse-pounding beat. The electric guitar riffs and solos are fantastic, and a perfect match for the biting lyrics about a woman who’s bad news and uses men for her own gain: “She just wants attention, and making information, is it all just too good to be true? Growing up before you, Chasing fame and fortune, Do you ever feel dead before you’re underground?”
Green Day’s influence on Dan’s songwriting is clearly discernible on “Pin Up Girl.” The song opens with a pleasant acoustic riff then, one minute in, the pace quickens with an eruption of strong percussion and gnashing electric guitars. Dan’s vocals on this song even sound a bit like Billie Joe Armstrong – a good thing to my ears, as I’m also a huge Green Day fan. He sings “Going it alone, I don’t want another. It’s you I’m dreaming of tonight.” It’s a terrific song.
In the languid “Too Late Tomorrow” Dan seems to be singing about living life outside your comfort zone – “If you don’t break the rules sometimes, you start to lose your mind. It’s always gonna be too late tomorrow, go and do what you like. As long as it’s not hurting no one, no one says you gotta be polite.” – while also addressing someone who’s been careless with other people’s feelings: “You don’t strike me as the type to care. You’re mistaken if you think I do. You get away with all that you do. There’s a fucked-up situation waiting for those like you.” The track features more of Dan’s great guitar work.
To sum up, Urban Stories is first-rate and, based on a few demos I’ve heard, Dan’s next EP is going to be another solid collection of songs. Support Dan by following him on Twitter and Facebook and stream his music on Soundcloud and Spotify. Urban Stories may be purchased on iTunes.