For all you guitar enthusiasts out there, I have a new (to me) name for your consideration: Daniel Champagne.

He will be appearing at One Longfellow Square on the 26th of this month and on that venerable venue’s website you can find a video of this amazing young Australian performer. That is where I discovered him, and after seeing it, knew that an interview with him was essential because he should be heard and definitely has to be seen to be believed.

I contacted his publicist and learned that he was taking a break from touring in Manitoba, Canada, so she reached him and learned that he was up for a chat on the 9th of this month. After a bit of technical difficulties we were able to get on with the interview and I asked him if he’d ever been to Maine before.

Champagne: I’ve never been to Maine or Vermont so I’m looking forward to getting up there.

Daniel Champagne Dane Beesley photo

Q: Well, you will be coming into one of the best listening rooms around when you hit the stage at One Longfellow Square.
Champagne: I’ve heard it’s great — I’m really excited.

Q: The first thing I saw was you performing an instrumental called “The Pursuit” and watching your guitar technique, (and) the late Michael Hedges came to mind. The way you play the acoustic guitar, not just the strings but the whole instrument, using it like a percussionist would, is really amazing, and then to find out that you’re also a singer-songwriter, it was quite the revelation.
Champagne: Thank you.


Q: Now, how do you choose whether a melody is best served as an instrumental or as a lyric-driven vocal?
Champagne: Well, I think that the key word there is “melody.” Often the instrumental songs have the melody in the guitar part whereas the things I put behind the vocal songs are more rhythmic based or harmonic rather than for the melodies.

Q: Another video I watched, “Supernova,” had the intricacies in the guitar work but it also had vocals.
Champagne: Yeah, thank you, but in that song, too, it’s more the groove and the chords with the melody coming in with the vocals.

Q: Now when you come into One Longfellow, is it going to be a solo performance or will you have rhythm behind you?
Champagne: Just solo, I always perform solo, I always have.

Q: Well, that way you can go where your muse takes you or where the audience seems to want you to go.
Champagne: Yeah, I mean, for me performing has always been quite a private thing, just sort of between me and the audience, and I kind of like it that way. I have played guitar in bands and that has been a lot of fun but I find it’s harder to connect directly with the audience if you’ve got other people up there.

Q: When you get on the stage there in Portland you’ll be able to make eye contact with every person in the room.
Champagne: (Chuckle) Alright, it sounds like my type of place.

Q: That’s exactly the case. Now, where else will you be performing? At the beginning of our chat you mentioned Vermont; will you be making it there as well?
Champagne: Yeah, I’ll be in Barrington, Vermont, the night before and then I think Boston the night after, or maybe Northampton. I know I’m playing Boston and Northampton in Massachusetts; and I’ve been to Connecticut before, so that’ll do New England for me.


Q: How long have you been doing this?
Champagne: I’ve been playing guitar since I was 5 — my dad is a guitar player — and I have been performing since I was 18, that’s when I finished high school in Australia. I mean, that’s when I started touring full time; I was playing in gigs when I was in school.

Q: Over the years, I’ve chatted with a lot of guitarists like BB King, Steve Vai, John Scofield, Chet Atkins and Pierre Bensusan, who reminds me a lot of you with his intricate finger work.
Champagne: Thank you, he’s a friend and I love his playing.

Q: I seem to be drawn to guitar players.
Champagne: Me, too (chuckle).

Q: (Laughter) Oh, and I understand that you have two new albums coming out: an instrumental and a singer-songwriter one.
Champagne: Ah, just the instrumental one and that’s kind of done; and then there will be a new vocal one, but it’s more down the road, that’ll be the next one.

Q: You’re publicist sent links to two albums so I could prepare for our chat, “The Pursuit” your new instrumental album, and “Shimmer Through the Windscreen,” which was sent as an example of your vocal work.
Champagne: Yeah, that was released earlier this year.

Q: Now do I understand correctly that “The Pursuit” is your first instrumental album?
Champagne: It is, yes. It always felt like I would do one at some point and that turned out to be the one.

Q: Is there anything, Daniel, that you’d like me to pass on to the readers of this article, especially seeing this will be not only your debut performance at One Longfellow Square but your first ever show in our fair state of Maine?
Champagne: Yeah, I think it’s worth mentioning that I travel a lot, like lots of different countries and a lot of different cities, but I’m always drawn more to the towns that aren’t the regular places to hit. I understand that Portland isn’t a small town at all, but I do understand that when you go off the regular route that a lot of musicians take, you start getting more down-to-earth and often more appreciative audiences. So, for that reason I’m very excited to come up there and see that part of the country. I believe it’ll be a good time of the year to be up there, up there in the North.

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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