Birmingham, AL-based lo-fi rockabilly troubadour Dan Sartain rode in on the wave of interest in stripped-down back-to-basics roots music spearheaded by the all-conquering White Stripes in the early 2000s. The lean and bequiffed Sartain self-released a couple of long-players before his full debut; 2003's Dan Sartain vs. the Serpientes -- released on Rocket from the Crypt/Hot Snakes frontman John "Speedo" Reis' Swami label. The frantic and compelling fusion of rockabilly, blues, garage, and punk, characterized by heartfelt yet gloriously misanthropic songs, ensured that the album stood out among the crop of Stripes copyists. The album found particular favor in the U.K., where it was championed by hip tastemaker the NME.
The follow-up, Join Dan Sartain (2006), continued the winning theme. Partly recorded at London analog boffin Liam Watson's ToeRag studio (also used by the White Stripes, Billy Childish, the Flaming Stars, etc.), the album was a more diverse affair featuring occasional forays into lounge and mariachi -- but all delivered with trademark breathless abandon. Two singles from the album broke into the Top 20 U.K. independent charts ("Replacement Man" and "The Flight of the Finch") that year. The momentum was maintained when Sartain was personally approached by fan Jack White to support the White Stripes in 2007, a year in which he also opened for Swedish garage rockers the Hives'. Sartain released a couple of singles in late 2009, one of which ("Bohemian Groove") was released on White's Third Man Records as a curtain-raiser to a much-anticipated third album. Live was released in July of 2010. ~ Matthew Garbutt, Rovi