Dan & James (a.k.a. Danny Beck and James Marquardt) were announced as the winners of the 2014 Folk Hero Contest, on Friday Oct 3, at the end of the first evening of this season’s Delmarva Folk Festival.
Danny Beck, who is not known for his outward displays of emotion, said he was “very surprised” by the award. “When I heard the other acts I thought, uh-oh, this is really going to be tough.”
The Folk Hero Contest is a long-standing tradition that show-cases local folk music. All of the finalists competed at one three of three open-mic coffee houses hosted earlier this year by the Delaware Friends of Folk.
After an evening of incredible performances from an exceptionally talented string of competitors, Dan & James were announced as the winners. The other finalists, who each in turn wowed the audience, were LA Time, Jessica Graae, Shannen Norris, Steffi & Tim, and Chelsea Rae. “We really wish we could have had six winners this year,” one of the festival chairs said. “They were all that good.”
Dan & James have been making music together for over two years. They met while playing in a church choir, hit it off musically, and expanded into other genres. They classify their music as Americana Folk-Rock. “It’s classic rock unplugged,” Danny said. They cover traditional folk-rock artists, like Bob Dylan and Jim Croce, but also play acoustic adaptations of classic rockers like Bob Seger and Stevie Ray Vaughan. “These are the songs that everybody loves,” he said. They also include their own original tunes.
James Marquardt competed in the Folk Hero Contest last year, but Danny has been involved with the Delaware Friends of Folk since his adolescence, participating in coffee houses, pick-ins, and as a sometime volunteer.
Dan & James recently changed their stage name to Tarred & Feathered. In addition to their duet, they are part of a classic-rock covers band, called Hooverville, that performs throughout central Delaware. You can follow them at https://www.facebook.com/Hoovervillemusic
James was unabashedly thrilled to win the Folk Hero Contest. But he was equally delighted to be a part of the festival line-up and share in the overall experience. Sitting by the festival bonfire late Saturday night he said, “This festival is an absolutely incredible experience. And the Friends of Folk are awesome for promoting local music. That’s what it’s all about.”
Dan & James (Tarred & Feathered) will be performing on the evening of Friday, December 5, at the Old State House, 25 The Green, Dover, as the Friends of Folk launch a winter concert program in partnership with Delaware’s First State Heritage Park. For more information, go to http://www.destateparks.com/park/first-state-heritage/