By Bruce Eder
If James Taylor epitomized the definition and the original, late-'60s incarnation of the term singer/songwriter, Dan Fogelberg exemplified the late-'70s equivalent of that term at its most highly developed and successful, with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles into the early '80s and a long career afterward, interrupted only by a health crisis that led to his untimely death in 2007. He came out of a musical family, born Daniel Grayling Fogelberg on August 13, 1951, in Peoria, IL, where his father was an established musician, teacher, and bandleader. His first instrument was the piano, which he took to well enough, and music mattered to him more than the sports that were the preoccupation of most of the boys around him. At age ten, he was saving and listening to any old records he could find. And if there's a "God-shaped space" in everyone, Fogelberg's was filled with music, something his family might've guessed if they'd seen how much he loved the music in church but was bored by the sermons. His other great passions were drawing and painting. His personal musical turning point came in the early '60s, before he'd reached his teens. A gift of an old Hawaiian guitar from his grandfather introduced him to the instrument that would soon supplant the piano, and at age 12, he heard the Beatles for the first time, which not only led him to a revelation about how electric guitars could sound, but also made him notice for the first time the act of songwriting as something central to what musicians did. It was also at that point that he began picking up on the music of Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly, all of whom were, of course, in the Beatles' repertory.
Portrait ~ The Music of Dan Fogelberg
By Paul Zollo
It's one of his earliest memories: He's four years old, standing up on a box in front of his father's big band, baton in hand, conducting. Though his dad stood behind him, doing the real work, for Dan it was a foreshadowing of what his life would be -- following in his father's footsteps to become the leader of the band. "It was an amazing feeling," he declared decades later during a series of discussions for these notes. "To be immersed in music. It felt both very magical and powerful. And I was fearless."
That fearlessness has led him far, as he developed into one of popular music's most gifted and successful singer-songwriters. With an early genius for both melody and harmony, a soulfully angelic singing voice, and a natural gift for romantic expression, Dan Fogelberg has created songs that have become so embedded in our collective consciousness that they still resound with authentic magic and beauty years after they first emerged.
The Artist Embraces The Past As A Guide To The Future
By Rex Rutkowski
For longtime Dan Fogelberg fans, it really was a magical period, those years between 1974 and 1981 when the enduring singer-songwriter defined what for them became "his sound." -- acoustic-based, romantic themed, "Southern California" style folk-rock emphasizing three-part, "stacked" harmonies.
Anchoring that era, for them, were a trio of albums in particular: "Souvenirs," released in 1974; "Captured Angel," which followed in 1975; and Fogelberg's 1981 coming of age landmark double record, "The Innocent Age."
Not coincidentally, it also represented the material that radio seemed to embrace most enthusiastically.
For those fans, and the new ones surely to be won this year, there is very good news to report:
Dan Fogelberg has come "Full Circle."
"The new album title says a lot. This is pretty much where I began stylistically," the artist explains from the comfort of his beloved Colorado home. The music in this record is more attuned to that period, he says.
"I've been off on a lot of musical directions. I've gone down a lot of roads personally, as a musician and artist. It's kind of ironic, I found on my 50th birthday that it took me back to where I began."
"Full Circle" is that place, a most interesting - and appropriate -- locale to be for the artist and for his listeners. It is a returning to and a departure from; a revolution around a life fully lived, each experience an opportunity for growth, for a lesson learned, each a possible catalyst for communication, for art, for helping us all better understand the human condition and, in so doing, the "Full Circle" of our own lives.