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Good Feeling Music
Monday, 03.09.2012, 20:20
oh what a night...
Dent May (USA)
A Southern anti-slacker is challenging Tiny Tim for the title of «The World’s Most Famous Ukulele Player». The name’s Dent May, he’s hitting our sweat drenched stage again, straight in from Oxford, Mississippi.
Back in 2009 when he was unpacking his beloved Uke, the amps lit up on their own in frenzied anticipation, Dent didn’t disappoint and astounded us with a sensational Prince cover. Adding a booming Zombys bass to the mix, he got everybody and their dog off the bar stools (so lovingly cobbled together by none other than our own Herr Martin…) and got all to shake their butts, rattle their limbs and roll their mojo.

His feel-good 2009 album «The Good Feeling Music Of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele» turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the then still popular indie rock scene in favor of lovely, sunny PopFolk tunes. «So much of the indie rock thing is about being cool and having the right influences. Fuck that. I like Steely Dan and the Eagles and Can and Velvet Underground too. I came up playing 311 and Creed covers in junior high, and I'm proud of it. I wasn't the singer in the band, but I rapped on 311 «Down» and sang backup vocals on the Creed song «One», which gave me the confidence to write my own songs. And of course all the '90s R&B and rap was a huge influence on me, and that's popping up everywhere in music these days. Next, I want to collaborate with will.i.am.»

Strong influences: Lee Hazlewood, Serge Gainsbourg. Soul brothers: Jonathan Richman, Jens Lekman, Magnetic Fields. His music is really R&B inspired dance music, it has garnered him many accolades and he was invited to the 2011 «All Tomorrows Parties» Festival and signed by Animal Collective to their Paw Track label. And you can hear plenty of it emanating from his newest «Do Things» and, by gosh, what’s that? it’s entirely uke-free and here’s why: «After all the touring for my ukulele album ended, I really didn't feel like I knew how to make music anymore. I very intensely wanted to prove to people that I can do anything and that I'm not just the ukulele guy, but I was too depressed to lift a finger. That's what the lyrics to most of the songs, and especially the title song, on the album are about. I had no purpose, and it took some real tragedy in my own life to snap me out of it. I had an epiphany where it was like, wait, all this stuff going through my head is what I need to talk about. The solution was so easy that it was actually quite difficult.»

Seems, Dent May happily lives on different planets all at the same time. But he records his stuff at home on the range in his ‘Cats Purring Dude Ranch’ and has welcomed performing guests like Real Estate, Grimes, UMO, Youth Lagoon, Jeff The Brotherhood and Dirty Beaches. Perhaps engaging in a little self-therapy also, sitting there in peace under a tree near steaming cow patties? Be that as it may, our man Dent knows how to pull himself up out of crap by his own locks and for him to cross over and walk above the wild waters of the Mississihl seems even less of a feat. Generally though, he’s got both oars in the water. Like, he’s partner in a beverage firm in New York. So far so good, but with it’s first product creation «Cream Abdul Java», he remains true to his roots as master of the absurd and pisser into the mainstream.

«I love to learn, but I hate to be taught», said another country squire, Winston Churchill. But Dent here is taking this one step further: «If you wanna be an artist, don’t go to art school». He attended film school and although he appreciated some of the fine company, he still thought the whole experience was for the birds. «I like cult filmmakers like John Waters, Russ Meyer, Terri Gilliam, Jodorowsky, David Lynch and so forth. I like anyone who has is own vision and pursues it relentlessly, regardless of the entertainment industry at large. I do want to make some sort of rock opera sooner than later. My only goal is to make as much good stuff as possible and keep doing it until I’m very old.»

You don’t have to wait that long to experience Dent May and his magnificent band (Ukulele, guitar, sampler, synthesizer), live and in relatively youthful flesh and blood. But here’s something on our behalf while talking about a vision and the pursuit of it: Please remember that none of our cool performing artists have ever left much of a dent in any budget....
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