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Making Waves: Dan Bettridge Stepping Into The Unknown

Monday, 03 March 2014 Written by Huw Baines

“Bit worried, first ever tour, like,” Dan Bettridge admitted, his voice still a little heavy with sleep after being rudely awoken by his phone. If he really is nervous, though, he’s got a peculiarly relaxed way of showing it. ‘Darker Days’, his second EP, is a confident affair, one that displays hints of a songwriter maturing at his own pace.

With the record only a week old, the ensuing tour will give Bettridge a chance to spread the word just a little. Hailing from Ogmore-by-Sea, a picturesque village nestled a short hop around the coast from Cardiff, his development so far has had an endearingly homespun air.

“I can’t say for sure, but I think the music I write would be completely different if I didn’t live where I live,” he said. “It’s not a conscious thing, it’s not in my head when I’m writing, but how can it not be? I don’t even know if I’d be writing music. It’s informed it, even if I’m not singing about waves.”

‘Darker Days’ expands on the sound Bettridge introduced 12 months ago on his debut, ‘Hunter’s Heart’, adding country tones to his bluesy vocals and fingerpicked acoustic. It’s also something of a reflective record, documenting a hectic period in his life.

“I was just writing to get something out of my system,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about where it was going to go or who was going to listen. When it’s done, you think ‘shit, better put something out now’. Then you start worrying. The record is a diary of the last 12 months. It’s 2013, to be honest.”

Bettridge has found support from a burgeoning Welsh music scene, having turned out at both Green Man and Sŵn​ - increasingly two pillars of the landscape - off the back of ‘Hunter’s Heart’. His first tour gets underway close to home - with shows in Carmarthen and Cardiff - before heading west, to Bristol and finally London, where he’ll play St Pancras Old Church on March 9.

“Before I started performing myself, I didn’t really take much notice of the Welsh music scene,” he said. “It’s a tight knit community. This year it’s definitely picking up. Sŵn​ had the NME small festival award, which was sick.

“Last year was the first year I played it and I really, really enjoyed it. It was really well organised. The Welsh Music Foundaton are a great help, and [WMF boss] John Rostron is an absolute hero. With the budgets they’ve got and where we are, they’re doing really, really well.”

Dan Bettridge UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Tue March 04 2014 - CARMARTHEN Parrot
Wed March 05 2014 - CARDIFF Norwegian Church
Thu March 06 2014 - BRISTOL Birdcage
Sun March 09 2014 - LONDON St Pancras Old Church

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