By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Daniel Hart has had a rough 24 hours. The talented Dallas-based violinist survived a blizzard in New Mexico while on tour with his band, which is on a West Coast stint, trying to drum up interest for Hart's forthcoming album, The Orientalist. When the storm hit, they lost control of the van and landed in a ditch, forcing them to cancel a show.
He's all right, though. After all, his solo project is the smallest iron he has in the fire. He only spends time working on it when he's not playing with much bigger acts, and they've been calling on him more than ever. In fact, this spring Hart will be playing with Other Lives, an Oklahoma indie act that scored the opening slot on a string of Radiohead tour dates. No big deal, right?
"When I first found out about the possibility [of opening for Radiohead]," Hart says, "I thought, 'How am I going to prepare myself to not completely freak out?'"
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His career ascent began when he helped a Dallas artist named Annie Clark get a gig with The Polyphonic Spree. When her solo career as St. Vincent started to take off, she returned the favor and asked Hart to join her touring band. Through touring with St. Vincent, Hart developed a network of artists who call upon him when they need a violin in the studio or on tour, such as John Vanderslice, The Rosebuds and Andrew Bird, who produced part of The Orientalist.
One of the biggest gigs he's come across was from somewhere else entirely. Dallas singer Ariel Saldivar landed a gig singing with Broken Social Scene and told the band about Hart, confident they would ask him to play.
She was like, "You're going to come to a show, I'm going to introduce you and you're going to start playing violin with them," Hart recalls. "I thought, 'Sure, Ariel. I'd like to but that's not necessarily how it always works.'"
Turns out that's exactly how it worked. Adding the Canadian band to his Rolodex has left even less time for taking his own show on the road. He hasn't even had time to nail down a release date for The Orientalist, which is too bad; it's a fantastic album, well-orchestrated and quirky, and shows the violinist's pop sensibility and versatility. Hart says he's aiming for February, but in the meantime he's streaming the entire album on his Bandcamp site.
"I would definitely spend a lot more time working on my own projects if I could find a way to make it more financially viable," Hart admits. "I basically play with other bands to fund my own band."
I would like to add that Daniel memorized the entire Broken Social Scene catalog in an afternoon and when he played the show it was like he had been playing with BSS for years!