Danny White

Working With Legendary Engineer Shelly Yakus

For years, Danny White has remained true to his Jersey Shore roots. White continues to play music that brings listeners back to the Shore's past. His sincere, groundbreaking slice of Americana continues to help the Shore sound evolve towards the future.

His stylings have caught the attention of many both locally and nationally. He has shared the stage with the one and only Bruce Springsteen on many occasions and most recently worked with legendary engineer Shelly Yakus. Yakus' name, reputation and musical fingerprints can be found on classic albums, which range from John Lennon's "Imagine," The Band's "Music From Big Pink" and U2's Rattle and Hum, to name a few.

This was an opportunity for White to have his album produced by someone who he said "made some of my favorite records that I grew up listening too."

Yakus, who also worked with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, prefers to keep the musicians he records involved during post-production, White said. This allows him to retain the artists' preferred sound.

"(Yakus) is just a real professional," White said. "You feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him."

Rather than release the CD with the usual shrink rap and case, White decided to go completely digital this time around. Using Apple's iTunes store sped up the album release process.

"We recorded (the album) and two weeks later it was on iTunes," White said. "Then, anyone who wants to, can get it anywhere in the world."

White's recording stint with Yakus and a group of studio musicians at Scullville Studios, Somers Point, NJ, was the first occasion where White made an album without his usual band.

He did, however, bring in Jim Long from his solo band on piano, aside from the session players who added pedal steel, bass and guitar.

Since hitting the Asbury Park music scene nearly a decade ago, White's style has differed from the bands he shared the stage with whose styles spanned genres that included heavy metal.

"We were never quite like any of the other bands on any of the bills," White said.

Musically, Asbury is more diverse than anywhere else in the country, he said.

Long first played Asbury's Stone Pony in 1986 during the birth of the alternative music scene.

"Asbury has always been a dichotomy," he said. "You could go to five different clubs and hear five different styles of music."

White has taken the various sounds of Asbury's past and present and intertwined them into his own, Long said.

"There's times when (White) touches my soul by hitting the old Southside sound and the old Bruce sound," Long said.

While other artists might take the safe route, White tests the musical waters, Long said.

White's music career began at the Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ, where an open mic was held on Sundays for about a year.

White met other Asbury artists such as Mole, Rachel and Bobby Strange at the Brighton, where he said a true music community existed.

Today, White remains a part of the Asbury community, where he played May's Wave Gathering. The event included more than 150 artists who performed at 18 venues throughout Asbury Park.

"It's a great package for the music fans who can pop in from club to club and all their bands are right in one area," White said. "You can hit the shops on Cookman (Ave., Asbury Park), too. It's a nice weekend out."

During each weekend last summer, White brought his band of shore veterans to the Norwood Inn in Avon, NJ. The band provided a soundtrack to summer renters who repeatedly returned to its performances.

There, "on-the-fly" arrangements of White's songs included pedal steel and accordion.

Using a variety of different instruments increases a songwriter's abilities and nuance to their song arrangements, he said. It also opens up improvisational gates.

"It's like you have an orchestra up there," he said.

White has maintained the Shore music community at Beach Music Studios, Belmar, which he owns. The studio was created to allow musicians to go beyond the normal routine when creating riffs, beats and songs. There, they can establish relationships and hone chops with others.

"It gives me a place to rehearse the band," White said. "Now, everything is right here."

[ Website: www.myspace.com/dannywhite ]

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.