David Todoran takes his "twisted Delta
who follows the local music scene knows that David Todoran is one of the
most talented, versatile and prolific musicians to come out of Fort
Wayne. Over the past two decades, the alternative rocker and
self-described "twisted Delta blues" musician has produced
five group albums and three solo albums.
His fame has spread to Germany, where
Todoran has toured, and where he may return in the fall. Germany's
trendy ulfTone Music label in Berlin picked up the European distribution
rights to his music and invited him to record his new album, "Luck
in This Life," last summer in Berlin with German backup musicians
from the band Dziuk Kuche.
Todoran joined ulfTone's roster of
"Americana" musicians that includes John Prine, Todd Snider,
Chris Whitley, Pat MacDonald and Jesse Harris.
"I don't speak much German, and the
musicians weren't sure what I was doing, so the initial recording
sessions were a little tense," Todoran recalled. "Creative
tension was flying. The drummer said it was as if he went to Chicago and
recorded an album with people who spoke Turkish. We fought like cats and
dogs and drank beer all night long."
The problem was that the German musicians
feared Todoran was going in the more traditional rock direction of his
previous solo albums. "The song 'Three On a Match' broke it open
for us," Todoran said. "It had a breathiness they could take
in a different direction. They said 'Oh, this we can do' and felt more
comfortable. After a few days we were playing like a band."
The new album is a brooding, inward
departure from the more expansive music that Todoran made on his two
previous solo records produced by roots-rock/alt-country legend Ian
"The last two albums ('Solstice' and
'Under My Skin') were rooted in Midwest mythology with a straight-ahead
narrative," Todoran said. "The music had a wide-open expanse
to match the subject. This one broke from that setting with darker
Rolling Stone Germany gave "Luck in
This Life" three stars, high praise for an indie-label release,
Todoran said proudly. The magazine cited Todoran's "Americana,
slightly jagged and Europeanized" sound. He calls it "twisted
Delta blues" because the main instrument Todoran plays on the album
is a 1931 National Steel Duolian guitar with a piercing, stinging sound
favored by the old Delta blues guitar masters like Robert Johnson.
Todoran's vulnerable, haunting songs are
focused around an acoustic guitar/bass/drums trio, and augmented by
layers of electronic overdubs from other German musicians. At his
CD-release party, Todoran will be accompanied by Brad Kuhns on bass and
Kevin Jackson on drums.
The thoughtful lyrics on 11 original songs
dwell on restless souls probing for answers in life about fate, fidelity
and love. "Whatever that means," the 43-year-old musician
said. "The title song sums up the issues. How much in life is dumb
luck? How much do we bring on ourselves?"
With his steady devotion to music, which
began at Elmhurst High School back in the late 1970s, Todoran has been
bringing that luck on himself and a growing base of fans around the