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Stolen Silver, stealing hearts
by Samantha Loochtan
Last summer, Chicago musicians Dan Myers and Levi Britton stole time from their regular band, Down the Line, to cut an album of songs they wrote themselves, recording under the name Stolen Silver. Today, that extra-curricular excursion has become a full-time gig. Now with six members, Stolen Silver has begun touring and last month was in residency at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave.
With Britton on vocals and guitars; Myers on vocals, violin, mandolin, harmonica, keyboard and banjolin; Chris Sterr on guitar, lap steel, dobro and vocals; Shawn Rios and Johnny Tornga playing the drums; and Jake Vinsel on bass, the group has a sound all its own.
The Chronicle got a chance to speak with Myers about the band’s origins, his inspirations, the Chicago music scene and what’s in store for Stolen Silver.
The Chronicle: How did the band get started?
Dan Myers: My writing and musical partner, Levi Britton, and I used to live in a beat up apartment in Logan Square. At that time, we were touring with a band called Down the Line. We started writing songs in our free time, but the music didn’t match that band, so we held on to them. Last year, after Down the Line went on hiatus, we got a chance to track a bunch of that material and it resulted in Stolen Silver’s [first] album. We released it last June and have been touring on it since.
The Chronicle: When did you first start writing music and why?
DM: I started writing songs in high school, and they were pretty bad. I went to a songwriting seminar back then, and one of the seasoned writers told me that you will have to write a hundred songs before any of them are any good. I shrugged that off at the time, thinking I had it down pat. Hilarious. Now, I’ve written hundreds of songs and think I’m barely scratching the surface of truly great writing. Hopefully I’ll get there…eventually.
The Chronicle: How did you get involved in the music scene?
DM: I went to college for music, then moved to Chicago where I started playing in all sorts of bands. While I was playing, I was always working on songs of my own. I guess it was through songwriting that I got to meet a ton of people, and lots of traveling and performing followed. I’ve always had a love of film music, so recently I bit the bullet and applied for grad school here at Columbia. I’m really excited to add film scoring to my musical life, and Columbia has a great program with top-notch faculty. I feel very fortunate to be here.
The Chronicle: How was your experience during your month at Schubas?
DM: This residency was really monumental for our development. Schubas is known as one of the great indie clubs of the country, and it was an honor to play there every Monday. For a band that has really only been around since last summer, it’s pretty amazing that we were able to nail down that opportunity. Every week we felt like we gained ground and got better, and [we] have added new material, too. The “Practice Space” moniker for the residency is an accurate one.
The Chronicle: What album are you currently working on?
DM: We have irons in the fire for our next release, which we’ve been writing since June. We are both pretty excited because this album will feature our current band lineup of six guys, which differs from the first album where Levi and I played most of the instruments and then formed the band around the album. We are hoping to start tracking this spring for a fall release.
The Chronicle: What’s next for the band?
DM: In March, we are playing in Traverse City, Michigan; Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor and Bowling Green, Ohio. Levi and I will be playing a cool show up at SPACE in Evanston in May, and we are hoping to have a full band in Chicago in May or early June.
For more information on Stolen Silver, visit StolenSilver.com