'Off The Grid' in New Orleans

A Donegal singer/songwriter recently put the finishing touches to his debut album recorded with a top producer in Los Angeles.

Danny Burns, originally from Ballyshannon, will later this year release his debut album Off The Grid in Ireland and The United Kingdom.

The son of Brendan and Mary Burns got the opportunity to work with LA based English producer and composer Warren Huart who has worked with high profile artists such as The Fray, James Blunt and American Idol winner Kris Allen.


Danny, who lives New Orleans with his wife, Chicago native Katie Smith, has been touring since he was 19 and before making the permanent move Stateside in 2004 had already spent time in America.

In 2000 the singer went to in New York where he worked and performed in the famous Manhattan bar, Rocky Sullivan’s where he became good friends another Irish singer looking to make it in the industry, one Damien Dempsey.

“Rocky Sullivan’s is a very famous bar and was known to be the haunt of The Pogues and so when they were making a documentary about The Fairytale Of New York, the owner Chris Byrne, whose family also hail from Donegal, was interviewed and the also did a little interview with myself and filmed while I was performing.

“I then moved to Washington DC in 2004 where I played guitar and mandolin with a folk group, but soon after I was offered my own solo residency in New Orleans.

“Performing in O’Flaherty’s six days a week, it gave me a great opportunity to work on my own material and try out songs with the public,” said Danny.

By chance, Danny was offered a steady gig in Chicago and so he packed up and left New Orleans – just a week before Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005.

“I got offered to put a band together and we moved up to Chicago just a week before Katrina hit New Orleans, we were very lucky.


“Some time after I was back down and went to where our house was and it was completely demolished, we could have lost everything like so many people.”

The couple moved back to New Orleans three years ago and Danny began to gather his demo recordings to send off to various producers.

“I had recorded demos in New Orleans, Chicago and at home in Donegal with my good friend Johnny Boxtie Gallagher who has always been very encouraging and after several song-writing workshops in Nashville my songs were tweaked and ready.”

Danny knew he wanted a more contemporary pop rock sound for his album and so he set out to find someone who really knew what they were doing in a studio.

“I found a lot of producers I was in contact with were looking for a very large amount of money and I felt they just wanted to rip you off.

“But then I got in contact with Warren [Huart] and he was the real deal. We got on very well and I liked his ideas and the records he has produced.”

And so the Ballyshannon man flew out to LA where he spent a full month recording his album with Warren who brought in top class musicians to play on Danny’s tracks.

The Grammy-nominated record producer brought in musicians who have worked with everyone from Shakira, Avril Lavigne to Roger Daltrey.

“Ben Wysocki from The Fray also came in and played on three songs, it was amazing to have so many talented and renowned musicians playing on my tracks,” he said.

Danny’s influences not only come from his traditional upbringing, but also from legendary singer/songwriters such as John Martyn, Van Morrison, Richard Thompson, and Christy Moore. He comes from a very artistic family with his grandmother Mary Kelly a dance teacher, and mother Mary teaching music to many students, including Boxtie Gallagher.

Living in New Orleans,Danny has also recorded and performed with legendary New Orleans musicians George Porter, Jr. (The Meters) and Mean Willie Green (Neville Brothers Band, Bob Dylan).

The singer is going to release Off The Grid in America to coincide with nation-wide tour in September and October, before he releases a single EP in Ireland and the UK to promote the subsequent album release and tour in February.

“There’s definitely going to be plenty of gigs in Ireland and at least two or three in Donegal. From the start I always wanted to make a Donegal album that could stand up with the rest of them and hopefully people will enjoy the music.”


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