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High Five

Dan Tedesco on five songs from his stripped-down new album

Cory Dewald

Dan Tedesco may be known as a folksy singer-songwriter, but now he’s also his own producer. Tedesco recorded his recently released, self-titled fourth album in his Iowa home, using his iPad’s on-board condenser mike to capture his songs live quickly. The result is an album stripped of studio-recording atmosphere, and focused on a raw sound that reflects Tedesco’s live performances. “I wanted it to be very direct, and I wanted it to be a very transparent performance,” he said, speaking by phone. “I wanted it to be as if I was almost next to you on a couch playing those songs, because they’re very intimate.” Minimalist rhythmic guitar, melodies that swoop, soar, and linger, and lyrics saturated with metaphor render a complex product despite Tedesco’s simple recording techniques. Prior to his show at Berklee’s Cafe 939 on Friday, Tedesco talked with us about five songs from his new record, in which he delved into concepts he’s eager to explore.

Mad Cow

“The idea behind that song is really trying to make an attempt to silence the white noise of social influence, and to really take some time to look inside of yourself and think about the things that really matter to you, and the things that really make you happy — because I’ve come to this conclusion lately that happiness is a state of mind that you can choose.”

Ain’t Meant to Be Alone

“It’s a story . . . basically pulled from my life on the road, and my relationship with my wife. . . . You’re trying to share these experiences and share your life, when [your partner’s] not really present and not really there. It’s about being in that space where you’re connected but disconnected at the same time. The disconnect with technology, and sort of the falsity of it — real human connection with somebody, I don’t know what’s more important than that.”


Waitin’ at the Gate

“It’s this idea of open-mindedness — it’s more within yourself, just being open to ideas, and not discounting anything. Taking time to think things through, and not rushing to conclusions, and falling in line with what you hear other people saying.”


Life Ever After

“This is . . . the age of technology, the digital age vs. the analog age. This is like the straddling of the two different worlds almost, asking the question: How far do you go with [technology]? It’s a song that’s looking at technology and asking the question, or making the suggestion that it’s something that is to be used as a tool or instrument in life and in daily life, but that it shouldn’t become life itself. . . . And yet I’ve made [the album] in a digital way; the working title I had for it was ‘Low-Fi in a High-Tech World.’ ”

I Didn’t Come Here to Get Mellow

“It’s a song of resilience and not getting weighed down or jaded, and working through it. It’s just for the living, for the experience, for the pain, for the sorrow, for everything in between. This song is about going in and experiencing it all, being tired when you get to the end. You’re supposed to have lived. And all of it is darkness and beauty.”


Dan Tedesco plays with Lindi Ortega and Smooth Hound Smith at Berklee’s Red Room at Cafe 939 on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets $15-$17. 617-266-1400,

Mallory Abreu can be reached at