Dan Treanor & Erica Brown
By David McIntyre
Veteran blues man Dan Treanor has been entertaining and thrilling audiences for over thirty-five years. Born in 1947, and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, he started playing guitar at fifteen years old. Discovering the blues and R&B through a local radio station, Treanor developed a lifelong passion for the blues. He started his first band, called The Marauder, at sixteen. “I was raised in a multi-cultural neighborhood where blues, R&B, and Mexican music was the accepted norm. That’s what I thought everyone listened to.”
While spending time in Viet Nam, a fellow soldier taught him to play harmonica. “Bernie showed me how to play that harp and it’s been stuck in my mouth ever since.” Returning to the states, he began a lifelong quest to master the art and soul of American blues. He used his GI bill to earn a masters degree in American history, where he unraveled the truth behind the evolution of the blues, from Africa to America.
Dan was one of the first blues musicians in the area to join the Colorado Blues Society when we began putting on blues concerts in schools back in 1995. In 2010, Treanor won the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” for best educator in the world. He has twice been nominated for “Blues Album of the Year” at the Independent Music Awards; he is a Horner harmonica endorsee and a two-time “International Blues Challenge” competitor.
Dan and his band, the Afrosippi Band, invited the great Denver blues vocalist Erica Brown to join them and they recently won this year’s Colorado Blues Society contest.
Brown has been called the Blues Queen of Denver, a very deserving crown, as she has worked with some of the finest artists in the world. She has shared stages with such heavyweights as B.B. King, Al Green, Delbert McClinton, Tab Benoit, Kenny Neal, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Bob Margolin, and Debbie Davis. Erica’s fronted the Erica Brown band for many years, and it solidified her reputation as a powerful force on stage.
I have watched Erica tame large and small crowds alike into eating out of the palm of her hand. She takes over a stage and owns the audience with her ferocious lead vocals and stage presence. One year in Memphis I watched her take over the big jam stage at The Rum Boogie while singing in front of Bob Margolin and a few other star blues cats, and make the room hers. I’ve seen her do it at large festivals in front of thousands, and I’ve seen her do it in small clubs like Oskars year after year.
Treanor, Brown, and the Afrosippi Band will be going to Memphis for a blues competition later this month (January 29 to February 2) in hopes of bringing back the winner’s trophy. Colorado has done very well this last year; winning both the “Blues Society of the Year Award” and having the Outlook Hotel in Boulder named “The Best Blues Club In The Country” by The Blues Foundation. Colorado also has a very good chance of winning the “Best Blues Band” with Treanor’s Afrosippi Band fronted by Erica Brown. This is a great collaboration between two of Denver’s long-standing blues artists with a very strong back-up band that, with any kind of luck, should complete Colorado’s trifecta of blues awards this year.
Last week I saw this group do a small show of their proposed songs for the Memphis competition and if it’s any indication of their ability, we should all be in for a treat when they bring their show to Oskar Blues on Saturday, January 26, in Lyons. Come over and cheer them on, and wish them luck in Memphis.