Dallas musician David Hage draws from local history for debut EP
David Hage comes from a musical family.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania native, who creates music under the name Coal Minor Canary, said his grandfather was a jazz drummer and music teacher, his father plays guitar, his mother sings, and his brother plays the bass.
It was Hage’s uncle, Warren, who showed him a progressive finger picking guitar style, a method Hage said has influenced his own playing.
“(It) uses altered tunings, and you play the guitar melodically and percussively,” he said.
Hage started playing seriously around 15 years ago, and said he needed a “creative outlet.”
“It felt really good to do something creative,” he said.
Hage’s epithet, Coal Minor Canary, pulls from the region’s coal-filled past, and the reference of canaries being used to warn coal minors of lethal levels of methane gasses. Like his name, Hage said he pulls inspiration for his music from regional influences and other artists in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“I’ve come up with a pretty unique style,” said Hage, who just released his first EP, “3:42.”
In the six song EP, Hage melds traditional bluegrass and folk techniques with progressive styles of guitar playing to create his music. He said he listens to a lot of indie music and singer-songwriters, and with his guitar style, met at a cross section among the three.
“The indie music, the bluegrass and the progressive finger style met somewhere in between and had a drink together,” Hage laughed.
Hage said the EP took around 7 1/2 months to create, and ranges from “delicate fingerstyle guitar work to energetic ballads orchestrated with rich layers of cello accompaniment.” Dan King, of A Fire With Friends, played cello on the EP, and Wilkes-Barre artist Dennis Condusta produced and engineered the EP.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said, “It was an opportunity to experiment.”
Hage said even when he would go to the studio with something in his mind, being able to play and work through it allowed him to create music in a way he hasn’t done before. Through his lyrics, Hage said he wanted to create songs that an audience would be able to relate to on a certain level, and have an “authentic” experience with.
“It came from a very personal space,” he said. “It was just about a transitional time, relationally.”
Hage said he wanted to add enough from his personally experiences, but make songs broad enough to reach a broad audience.
“It brings me pleasure to write music,” he said.
There will be a release party at The Keys in Scranton at 9 P.M. Friday with sets by Markus A.D. and Dennis Condusta, with Hage taking the stage at 11 p.m.
Hage said he owes a lot to King and Condusta for their work on the EP, and credits the local music scene and the support artists have had for one another throughout the years.
“I think it’s partially due to our coal mining history,” he said. “There was a struggle here for a lot of people who did some very hard work, and I think that translates generationally.”
Reach Brigid Edmunds at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brigidedmunds.
IF YOU GO
What: “3:42” release party
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: The Keys, 244 Penn Ave., Scranton
Additional Information: $5 at the door, 21 and over, www.Coalminorcanary.com.