Photos by Roman Cho

 
Between the relea
se of “Owl Country” and early 2017, I poured my energies into an increasingly ambitious performing schedule with Cahoots, vocal lessons with Shea Breaux Wells and jazz studies at Sonoma State University. For “Lucky Stars” I recruited Sonoma State jazz prodigies Melissa Hubbell (bass) and Taylor Cuffie (percussion) to accompany my tremolo and reverb heavy Telecaster sound. The compositions range from samba to pop, folk, rockabilly and country rock. These are all backed by outstanding two- and three-part vocal harmonies and horn arrangements. For the fourth time in seven years producer Matt Wright and I teamed up to create an album. There are nine original tunes along with a cover of Ricki Lee Jones’ classic “Weasel and the White Boys Cool,” which was on her debut album, a record that I played till it was scratched and practically no longer listenable. Keyboardist Mike Emerson, vocalist Alison Harris, Cahoots’ bandmates Craig Anderson and Ashley Holmberg, Dixie Giants’ Jason Thor (trombone) and Nick Hasty (saxophone and flute), the amazing singer Shea Breaux Wells, and cellist Tristan Clarridge all make these songs sparkle. 
 
My vision for “Owl Country” was to combine my Americana songwriting sensibilities with the musical prowess of classically trained violinist, Yvette Holzwarth, who was living in Sonoma County and had started sitting in with Cahoots. Over the course of a year, we worked in a one-room 1906 schoolhouse to craft a unique sound for the album. Our rhythm section was comprised of veteran jazz bassist, Chris Amberger, and hip hop/R & B drummer, PC Muñoz, (a close family friend). This added a cool dimension to my Americana inclinations and Yvette’s lush orchestrations. Guest artists included one of my longtime musical heroes, David Grisman on mandolin, Grammy award-winner Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica, Dave Zirbel on pedal steel and Alison Harris on backing vocals. Again Matt Wright recorded this project that included 9 original songs and a live version of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”
 

Dan Imhoff, “Lucky Stars” 2017

          Dan Imhoff and Yvette Holzwarth, “Owl Country” 2014

Dan Imhoff, “Agraria” 2012  

Dan Imhoff, “Agraria” 2012  

Photo by Quincey imhoff

This was my first full-length recording project following a one semester sabbatical at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. “Fat of the Land” included 10 original songs supported by an early rhythm section of the ever evolving Sonoma County band, Cahoots, which I had formed five years earlier. The album was produced by a local songwriter, Steve Pile, and was the first of my many musical collaborations with Matt Wright, who served as the sound engineer on this one. It also signaled the beginning of the Llama Shed Music label. We still play some of these early songs at nearly every Cahoots show.
 

          Dan Imhoff & Cahoots, Fat of the Land” 2010

In 2012, I released “Agraria” after a fairly productive year of songwriting. This time I turned to Matt Wright to produce and engineer the album. He helped me assemble an all-star Sonoma County cast for the rhythm section: Dave Rollans, a relocated 20 year-old drummer; Josh Fossgreen, an extremely tall and lanky local bass phenom; and Mike Emerson, keyboardist extraordinaire and touring musician from Sebastapol. I think many of the songs on “Agraria” began to reflect a deeper attention to craft, both musically and lyrically. Cahoots regulars Craig Anderson and Andy Dru Rodgers both appeared on the album, along with a corps of Sonoma County session players on pedal steel, fiddle, horns, harmonica and backing vocals. 
 

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“13 Revolutionary Mind”


This is an out-take from Owl Country; written in Cuba in early 2014, performed by Dan Imhoff, Yvette Holzwarth, PC Muñoz, Chris Amberger and Alison Harris, recorded at Studio E and Felta Schoolhouse, Summer 2014.


By the s
ummer of 2017, Cahoots had been gigging for more than a decade. Over the years the band evolved to include some of the finest Americana players in Sonoma County, a veritable hotbed of musical talent. I wanted to bottle some of the spirit we had been making as a musical family before leaping into the unknown on a one year sabbatical. We bounced four miles up a dirt road to an off the grid house and recorded a dozen songs both familiar and brand new. Matt Wright brought a portable recording studio and dialed in a live and spontaneous and mostly unplugged vibe in a room of salvaged redwood and Douglas fir. In addition to Craig Anderson, Eric Backman, Andy Dru Rodgers, Andy Tester and me, we were joined by some well loved collaborators. Alison Harris added her soprano to the singers standing around a single microphone backing every song with lush Cahootian harmonies. Ashley Holmberg graced a number of tracks with overdubs on her violin. Photographer Roman Cho, a percussionist and tabla player by education, sat in on drums when Eric Backman was called away. Much fun was had by all.
 

Cahoots, “Philosophy” 2018

Dan Imhoff, “Peregrino” 2019

“Peregr
ino” is Dan Imhoff’s latest solo project, recorded at Estudios Millennia in Valencia, Spain between May 2018 and February 2019. The project is the creative result of a year living and studying and playing music in Europe, with 6 original songs and inspired covers of “Working Class Hero,” “After the Gold Rush,” “Knocking ‘Round the Zoo,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” The album features extraordinary musicians from Valencia, including Sergio Martinez, Jaume Guerra Meneu, Ido Goldberg and Amadeo Moscardó. The album will be released in August 2019.