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MP3 9th Rail - Dreaming of Sleep

Guitar and keyboard driven, original indie rock with diverse elements like noise experimentation and hints of Americana.

6 MP3 Songs in this album (30:54) !
Related styles: ROCK: American Underground, ROCK: Roots Rock

People who are interested in Pavement Wilco Son Volt should consider this download.


Dan Nelson first set foot on stage at an open mic at local Brunswick restaurant The Kitchen in July 2003, at the age of eleven. As he played guitar and sang Arlo Guthrie’s “Motorcycle Song,” Bob Dylan’s “The Time’s They Are A-Changin’” (complete with a note for note re-creation of Dylan’s harmonica part), and The Beatles’ “Mother Nature’s Son,” it was clear that Dan had grabbed music by the tail and was going to follow it wherever it should lead him. Through Arlo Guthrie and Dylan, Dan was led to Woody Guthrie, and then to Harry Smith’s “Anthology of American Folk Music.” From his close study of that collection, he learned to play songs like “Old Lady and the Devil” by Bill and Belle Reed on guitar and “I Wish I Was a Mole In the Ground” by Bascom Lamar Lunsford on banjo. After exhausting the Smith Anthology, Dan spent many a day searching through southern old timey and blues LPs and CDs at the Bowdoin College music library, and purchasing rare recordings however he could, whether it be through the internet, or through the phone to get cassettes from obscure catalogs. During all this, Dan was busy defining his sound playing at several open mics around Brunswick and later full length sets all around Maine, often with his father, Richard.

While 60s rock and old time music recorded in the 1920s and 30s was the music Dan first got interested in, by the time he was thirteen he began to embrace indie rock by bands like Pavement, Wilco and Built to Spill. Taking up electric guitar in eighth grade, Dan also began writing his own songs. In the summer of 2007 Dan decided to play his original compositions in a rock band format, starting 9th Rail with long-time friend Cecilia Mauceri on drums. Bassist Jasper Boyd joined the band later that year. The band’s trademark mix of quirky lyrics along the lines of Stephen Malkmus and Dan’s at times flashy yet tasteful lead guitar playing was evident from the start. After a year of performing around Maine, and winning first place in the Sagadahoc County Battle of the Bands, 9th Rail had to reconfigure its lineup with Cecilia leaving for college. Dan and Jasper eventually decided on Sam Nelson (no relation to Dan) to take over on drums, and added Jon Simmons on keyboards. With the new lineup, 9th Rail has continued to perform regularly at venues such as She Doesn’t Like Guthrie’s in Lewiston, The Station in Portland, and Slainte in Portland. Recording of the debut CD "Dreaming of Sleep," featuring six of Dan’s original songs, began in December 2008.

The other band members:

Bassist Jasper Boyd, originally from Des Moines, has significant experience in both jazz and rock styles. His unique approach goes beyond the boundaries of standard rock bass playing and contributes much to the distinct personality of 9th Rail’s grooves. In addition to his work with 9th Rail (and though just 16 years old), Jasper plays in Bowdoin College’s Polar Big Band, a Bowdoin jazz combo, and the indie rock band The Milkman’s Union.

Jon Simmons, a longtime Brunswick resident, plays keyboards with the restraint to not over-clutter songs, but rather to roll through them with captivating twists that keep them moving forward. A longtime stalwart of the Brunswick High baseball team, Jon also writes songs and plays guitar.

Sam Nelson, often assumed to be Dan’s brother, is in fact not related to Dan. He does, however, play drums in Dan’s band. Sam was selected to take place in 2009’s Maine All-State Music Festival, and plays in several Brunswick High School music ensembles. He has also played percussion in local musicals. His aggressive drumming style has been described as “so good, it’s impossible to listen to without air-drumming to it.”

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