With over 300 shows in the past 12 months, percussive guitarist and singer/songwriter Daniel Champagne could never be considered guilty of being lazy. His work ethic is perhaps only surpassed by his raw talent, as he travels the world drawing new fans from across north America and Europe.
This year, Canada became a particularly strong market, as he drove from Victoria in British Columbia to Newfoundland for 28 dates, 24 of which sold out. Champagne described it as “a watershed” for his emerging career, always gently grateful for the “warm reception” his music has received, particularly the new album ‘Fault Lines’.
But the young man’s connections to the Gold Coast might surprise some. Playing festivals here and abroad, some ten years ago he bumped into fellow guitar prodigy, Julz Parker of the much loved local outfit Hussy Hicks and discovered they had both at times played with Phil Emmanuel. In October 2017, they made the acquaintance a little more familial, as he toured 20 shows across the USA together with Hussy Hicks in a project billed primarily as a guitar driven showcase. Champagne commented with a laugh he was brainwashed into a love of the GC during this time as the Hussy lasses spruiked their home city at every opportunity.
Recently, Champagne was announced for the 2018 Blues on Broadbeach, just as he returned to Brisbane on a support slot for Mexican guitar powerhouses Rodrigo y Gabriela. He’d been so impressed with the stage show of the duo, noting their two hour practices for every date despite rarely needing such on account of their incredible talent and familiar material, and committed to reshaping his own show.
“I’ve got a 56 date Aussie/NZ tour and I’m bringing new songs and new jokes and new banter. Everyone’s got a character on stage and that is part of the show. Rod and Gab are not just lovely people but they really connect with their audience. On this upcoming Snap Shot Tour I’m aiming to do just that.”
Before the tour, Champagne is excited about releasing a limited edition “mix tape”, recording 25 songs in three days with a few of his fave producers and collaborators, delivering a few favourites on the track list, closing the chapters on others, and introducing some new material. With such a heavy schedule recording and touring, Champagne laughs when asked what he does to switch off, emphasising he really is a pretty normal Aussie bloke.
“I watch the cricket overnight. Touring makes me tired but my sleep patterns mess up. I watch the cricket and AFL online.
“But guitar is not just my job, it’s my hobby. I love to play in my down time.”
It shows. His passion on stage for his music, ably demonstrated in his proficiency manipulating the acoustic guitar with only his fingers and a little electrical tape, is no doubt a product of his gruelling schedule and daily fascination with his instrument; so fingerpicking good. You must check him out!
Champagne plays at Blues on Broadbeach on the Mall Stage at midday on Thursday 17 May, from around 6.00pm on the 102.9 Hot Tomato Spotlight Stage on Friday night, heads back to the Mall Stage on Saturday at 10.00am and then hits Oracle Boulevarde around 12.45pm to close out Sunday afternoon.
He returns on his Snap Shot Tour to Black Bear Lodge in Brissy on 5 July, hits Sol Bar on 6 July, and finishes up his tour in a quaint, up-close-and-personal show at Mt Nimmel Hall in Austinville on 7 July.