Wednesday, December 6

Center Stage - Dale Boyle

Meet Dale Boyle - A multi award-winning folk and Americana singer-songwriter and Radio Airplay's newest Center Stage artist. His song Gasoline got 2nd place in the Americana category of the 2017 Unsigned Only music competition. 

The Canadian (Montreal-based) artist has been called “One of the best to emerge from north of the border” (Americana Homeplace) and “an accomplished musician, a fine singer, and an exceptionally thoughtful, meticulous songwriter" (CanadianBlues.ca).

In 2017, after 15 years of writing and recording solo acoustic-based folk music, Dale set forth to explore new territory: Edgy, electric, driving Americana music with full-band arrangements. To deliver this new sound in the studio, Dale enlisted “The LA Rhythm Section”: Drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Bob Seger, etc.) and bassist James LoMenzo (John Fogerty, Slash, David Lee Roth, etc.).

The resulting 5-song EP, GASOLINE, includes a cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” as well as original tracks such as “My Birmingham” (finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition) and the title track, “Gasoline,” which was named a 2nd place winner in the international Unsigned Only Music Competition.

As described by the Montreal Gazette, Gasoline "fuses L.A. energy with roots-rock soul” and it represents a turning point for Dale Boyle as a songwriter and recording artist.

Get to know Dale a little better, what inspires him, and what he's got in store for the future in the latest artist feature:

What was the inspiration behind writing and recording your song "Gasoline"?
Lyrically, “Gasoline” is inspired by the universal sentiment of wanting to do what defines you for as long as you can. I think the movie “The Wrestler” partly inspired the idea, as did my father’s reluctance to retire. The chorus line sums it up well: “I ain’t gonna stop ‘til the wheels fall off, and every drop of gasoline burns.” Musically, the song was inspired by “The LA Rhythm Section” of Kenny Aronoff and James LoMenzo. I had a session booked with Kenny and James and I needed to pick one more song for the recording session, and I just couldn’t come to a decision. So, at the last minute I decided to write a new song from scratch…and specifically, a song that I felt musically resonated with Aronoff and LoMenzo. “Gasoline” was written at the 11th hour and it came together very quickly. I have almost no memory of writing it. It was a blur. I thought I’d return to it later and tweak the lyrics. But I never did. “Gasoline” remains as it was written in that one quick burst of inspiration.


Is the song part of an upcoming release? 
Gasoline is the title track on my new EP, which was released in May 2017.


Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
Catchy, Americana roots-rock that reflects the Tom Petty motto: “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus!”


What's your earliest music-related memory growing up?
Receiving my first guitar was special for me. I wanted one really badly, and I’m sure my parents thought it might have been a passing fad. I still remember that excitement in receiving my first instrument.


If you were to cover another band/artist's album, which would you pick and why?
I would cover Steve Earle’s El Corazón. Stylistically, I feel very comfortable performing Steve’s Earle music. At the same time, I also have a wide range of musical tastes and El Corazón covers a lot of musical ground. On that album you’ll hear folk, roots-rock, bluegrass, and even some punk rock influences. It’s all over the map, and it would be a great album for me to cover!


Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process
Yes, I do and I primarily define myself as a songwriter. My process typically involves noodleing around on the guitar and mumbling melodies. Simultaneously I am trying to discover an interesting chord structure and melodic line that might inspire a song. I tend to work on music and melody before lyrics, but usually some line will emerge in my mumbling that becomes the signpost for the lyrical direction of the song. And then it’s the ongoing process of writing, revising, and rewriting until it feels complete. It can come together quickly, as it did with “Gasoline,” or it can literally take years for some songs to find their way!


What has been the highlight for you in 2017? Either personally or for your music career?
2017 has been great on many levels, but if I had to pick one highlight it is recording with Kenny Aronoff and James LoMenzo. I grew up listening to these musicians in the 1980s: Kenny was with John Mellencamp (or John Cougar at the time) and James was with White Lion during that period. I wanted the Gasoline EP to have a particular roots-rock sound, and this was the rhythm section to do it. It was a pleasure and great learning experience. Since its release, the Gasoline EP has received lots of press coverage, led to radio and TV appearances, and it earned the Unsigned Only 2nd place “Americana” win. But still, it’s the recording sessions themselves that still stand out as being intrinsically special and a highlight for me.


What have you been working on recently? Can you give us a hint for what's to come in your music career? 
I have a couple of unreleased songs recorded with Kenny and James, and I plan to record more. The initial songs we recorded have a blues-rock vibe, so my next release might be in more in that direction. We’ll see what 2018 brings!


What do you like more: Performing live or recording in the studio?
I love recording in the studio. I can do it almost endlessly. I can literally track until I have to stop from exhaustion and then I can get right back at it the next day. I love exploring possibilities and treating the studio like an instrument. I enjoy that process a lot. I’ve heard people say that it is rough working with an extreme perfectionist like producer “Mutt” Lange, but I would love to be in the position to be pushed that hard in the studio!


Any embarrassing on stage moments you'd like to share? C’mon, don’t be shy.
I remember during one particular outdoor festival performance where I noticed a little kid running really fast in front of the stage. Just when he’d reach his top speed, he’d toss his body into the air. When he made contact with the ground, he’d bounce a few times before stopping. He had a very unique way of doing this…it was almost like watching the exaggerated antics in a cartoon. And the kid kept doing it over and over. I started giggling and it escalated and escalated to the point where I literally could not sing and perform the song. It was sorta embarrassing, but laughter is contagious and soon everyone, audience included, was laughing. In the end, if you don’t beat yourself up, the audience is forgiving. And sometimes, the embarrassing moments are THE best and most memorable moments in a performance. I think this was the case here!


What's one thing people should know about you?
I received my doctorate degree in education in 2011 and I have been working as a part-time lecturer at McGill University ever since. That’s my day job!


What do you enjoy doing outside of music? Does your hobby rejuvenate your creativity?
Outside of music, I like to run. I started running with a group of runners almost three years ago and it’s a great way to be active and meet like-minded people. And for me, since I spend so much time in music, it’s nice to have an activity like running which allows me to totally step away from music and clear my head. That time and distance from music definitely helps me feel rejuvenated when I return to writing and recording music.


What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
Radio Airplay is a really great platform to reach new listeners and potential fans. There are a number of specific points I appreciate, and probably my favorite is the campaign settings. Being able to identify particular “artist targets” and “geographic targets” really helps zero in on the specific audience for the music I am promoting. Very practical!

Dale Boyle - Gasoline