“I was very reluctant to put this stuff out because there’s a ton of rootsy cornballs out there doing this kind of stuff and all of them play guitar way better than me,” says Danny Kroha. “But I think I have something here that doesn’t really sound like anything else. The numbers that bounce really bounce. The numbers that drone really drone. I’m excited about this.”
The founding member of The Gories tried his hand at the banjo, dulcimer, diddley bow, washtub bass, jug and mouth organ for his first release under his own name, Angels Watching Over Me. The result is a distinct step forward for gospel and folk. Kroha has consistently pushed himself to reinvention, and has influenced countless imitators and poseurs along the way. His guitar work with Rocket 455 is the most quintessentially “Detroit” rock and roll this side of the MC5.
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The record was recorded in a 100-year-old, vacant house in Detroit, and features songs popularized by the likes of Son House, I.D. Stamper, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Brother Will Hairston. This is a decidedly different Danny Kroha than has been seen in his past projects with Demolition Doll Rods and Danny and the Darleans. With Angels Watching Over Me, he firmly establishes himself as one of the pre-eminent practitioners of a genre we hold so dear.
The record will be available for pre-order mid-January with an official release date of Jan. 27. Check out a sneak peak of the song “Run Little Children,” the only Kroha original on the record.
“I was sitting by a pond in a park in Rochester, New York, playing my diddley bow, and this one came to me. Son House lived in that town for some years; I like to think he was smiling on me,” says Kroha.