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Posted by / 05-Jun-2020 12:58

Four nights a week, they shook the foundations until 3am, but there was already the sense they could be far more than a rocking covers band. In the studio, meanwhile, Dana and Jon planted their flag with 2003’s Lonely For A Lifetime: an opening gambit that fizzed with potential, splicing a ’60s Stax/Volt vibe with the driving grit of the Stones, and fusing the dark wit and wisdom of Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams.

“Every Tuesday night,” Dana recalls, “we'd play all night, and that's where we wrote our first handful of tunes and we’d try them out on the crowd.”Drawn by the pair’s original songs and incendiary performances, those crowds were soon stretching round the block, at mythologised hot-spots like Arlene’s Grocery, The Mercury Lounge and B. “They’re about addiction and religious hypocrisy,” she noted of tunes like Strung Out and Bible Baby, “and like all the tracks on the album, deal with subjects that I have a deep personal experience with.”By now, all eyes were on her, and after being spotted by musicians from Broadway’s orchestra pits, Dana won the lead in the hit musical Love, Janis, followed up by the role of Sadie in 2007’s Golden Globe-nominated cult movie, Across The Universe. ’”The demands of stage and screen inevitably impacted on the band’s studio output.

But this time there’s a new creative freedom, borne of Dana completing her existing record contract, contemplating a blank canvas and crowdfunding the record that she was burning to make.

“I was at an interesting crossroads,” she remembers.

Later on, I appreciated my parents’ music – Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday – but when I heard the old classic rock ‘n’ roll, I lost my mind over that stuff.” Dana’s musical appetite was bottomless, and when fronting a band at a local Holiday Inn was no longer enough, the 19-year-old singer hatched a bolder plan.

At this time, New York did not hold happy associations.

His beatings only stopped because his father took his own life. With all that pain, he was most certainly a flawed parent.

He could also be very angry and scary, especially when he drank.

Afterwards, he said, ‘You have a good instrument, but you really need to learn what you’re doing’.” After Jon exposed her to his encyclopedic blues vinyl collection, Dana’s astonishing natural vocal prowess took on new depth and nuance. Together, Jon and Dana hit the Lower East Side’s live circuit like a wrecking ball, holding their own on bills featuring titans like James Cotton and Taj Mahal, and quickly earning a residency at the Red Lion club.“We were a big family from New York, Irish-Catholic, there was no one like us in the area.I tended to gravitate more towards the African-American community.Still, we knew he loved us.”If the household was fractious, then music was always the balm.Ostracised at school, Dana found solace in the stomp-and-holler gospel of her local Baptist church, but it was the British classic rock blasted out by her siblings – The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Fleetwood Mac – that lit a lightbulb over her head.

The city had been the backdrop to the tragic death of Dana’s beloved elder sister, Donna.

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