STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Warning: Dan May sold out Kennett Flash the last time he played there.
He returns for an all-ages show at 8 p.m. Sept. 30.
The Drexel Hill singer/songwriter also has a way with the written word. “I was posting short stories on Facebook, and I got a text from a woman who wanted me to speak at a writers co-op in Norristown: ‘You should put these in a book,’” said May, who has taken to reading two- to three-minute excerpts from his book, “Adventures in Grocery Shopping,” in between songs during his recent concerts.
“Some are humorous, some are poignant. It’s a lot of growing-up stuff. People can relate to it, and I put into words what they’re thinking and feeling,” said May.
Growing up in a family of nine exposed May to a variety of musical styles. His oldest brother played a lot of Beach Boys, and his second oldest brother was into jazz and trumpet music, he said. One of his sisters enjoyed show tunes, while another sister was partial to Cat Stevens. “I appreciate good melody and good writing,” May said.
His artist bio at www.danmaycd.com states that he worked as a grave digger, a television cameraman, a short-order cook, a nuclear missile security guard, a gas station attendant, an ice cream truck driver, a delivery man, an amusement park worker and a greenhouse laborer, all before the age of 25. With degrees from Ohio State University and Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts (where the CD release party for his latest album, “Heartland,” was held), at one point in his life May was an opera singer for 12 years (including with Opera Company of Philadelphia). A freak contraction of Legionnaire’s disease during a performing engagement in Buffalo led to paralysis of his vocal cords, and a surgery that put an end to his opera singing career.
“I miss the splendor and the pageantry, but me writing songs was meant to be,” said May.
With six albums of Americana-flavored music recorded over the last decade, May — who wrote most of his songs on piano — only started learning to play guitar two years ago, when he was 56. “I’ve been surrounded by such good guitar players in my band that if I played (on stage), it’d be a disservice to the audience,” he said.
The upcoming concert will lean heavily on the “Heartland” album, and will reunite May with backing harmony vocalist Heather Feely. Check them out singing together at www.danmaycd.com/media.
IF YOU GO
What: Dan May in concert.
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 30.
Where: Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square.
Info.: Call (484) 732-8295 or visit www.kennettflash.org.