The Twin Cities music scene’s version of “Where’s Waldo?,” here’s a rundown of what the ever-rustling and nomadic Dan Wilson has been up to as he returns home for a special benefit concert Saturday at the Sheridan School Auditorium in Minneapolis. Tickets to the Seminsonic/Trip Shakespeare singer's solo show are still available, and all the money goes toward Sheridan Story, a program that sends meals home with underprivileged school children on weekends.
1. NEW SINGLE: “Disappearing” was issued on a 7-inch vinyl and digitally last week via Canvasclub, a new singles label run by Trip Shakespeare’s old A&R guy at A&M Records. Sara Bareilles sings backup on the track.
2. NEW (SELF-MADE) VIDEO: The single was issued with a lyric video featuring shady black-and-white artwork and calligraphy by none other than Wilson himself. Because the guy isn’t busy enough and hasn’t mastered enough facets of the music business already. Take a look at his handiwork (and hear the song) below.
3. NEW ALBUM: “Disappearing” is the prelude to a full-length record on tap for a spring release, details of which are still being hashed out on the label/distribution front. This will be his second solo disc and the overdue follow-up to 2007’s “Free Life.” While a lot of the album tracks are said to maintain the intimate, solitary vibe of “Disappearing,” the record will feature guitarwork by Blake Mills (Fiona Apple’s current tour partner) plus an all-star list of female guest vocalists besides Bareilles, also including Natalie Maines (Dixie Chicks), Missy Higgins and Lissie.
In a posting on his blog, Wilson explained that the record was somewhat reactionary to all the co-writing and production work he has been doing for other singers' records (see: Taylor Swift, Adele, Pink, Dierks Bentley). He said: “After these past years of intensive collaboration, I wanted to hear what the music in my own head sounded like. So I went into hiding for several months and emerged with the most lonesome and personal-sounding music that I’ve made in a long time.”
4. NEW COLLABORATIONS: He continues to do a lot of co-writing, and not just with pop starlets or country stars. Two recent collaborators were Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Britt Daniel of Spoon (and Divine Fits), songs that may or may not make it onto their upcoming records. He also worked recently with one new pop starlet, Birdy, a 17-year-old British singer who had a minor breakout three years ago covering Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” and is being fostered for much bigger things by Atlantic Records. Other recent co-writing work appears on new records by Higgins, John Legend and the historic Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
5. NEW SOUNDTRACK: He executive produced the soundtrack to “Spark: A Burning Man Story,” a new documentary on the Nevada desert’s Burning Man Festival, which features a new song by Higgins as well as tracks by Michael Franti, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Diplo, Hot Chip and more.
6. NEW GRAMMYS (MAYBE): It’s Grammy watch time again, too. Taylor Swift’s album “Red,” which came out soon after last year’s Grammy cut-off date, will likely earn an album of the year nomination and a lot more. As producer and co-writer of the track “Treacherous,” Wilson will be in line to get another trophy (or four or five).