When Dan Mangan played in a backyard in Bowness in 2006, opening for a veteran Alberta songwriter, he was feeling downtrodden. A cross-country tour where he was routinely met with indifference had dulled the shine. Maybe it was the people in that backyard applauding every meticulously crafted song (he seemed surprised), maybe it was the line-up by the garage to buy his first CD, but Mangan didn’t give up; he went on earn record deals, gold albums, world tours, Juno Awards, and sold-out shows.
Lucky us that he persevered. We get to enjoy Mangan’s music but moreover his insights, which create everything from an aching tightening in the chest to a burst of laughter, all experienced from recognizing ourselves mired within the grit of human existence in his delicate lines. If songs were sculptures, Mangan’s start with a ten-kilo block of stunning marble that he reverently hones until a mere gram of pure transcendence remains. The “negative space” – things left unplayed, unsaid, unsung – add as much to his music as do every luscious word and note.
Biography by Mary-Lynn Wardle