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or European Underground with American Roots
At the age of 40 Germany-based DAD HORSE OTTN started playing music on a tenor banjo given to him as a gift. Drawing inspiration from Appalachian music and the abysses of his soul, he invented a genuine mixture of country gospel, singer / songwriter, punk rock, and oompah-pah polka labeled as "Keller-Country."
Under the moniker THE DAD HORSE EXPERIENCE he started travelling the world as a One-Man-Gesamtkunstwerk in 2008. Singing his mysterious and otherworldly songs with banjo, mandolin, bass-pedal, and kazoo, he tells bizarre and twisted stories about guilt, redemption, and the merchandise tables of heaven.
With his thick German accent and decidedly original take on Americana, he could gain a respectable fan base worldwide, especially in the United States, home of country and gospel. After his song "Gates of Heaven", about a man requesting admittance to heaven to see his late mother, has been featured on a sampler by dark roots label Devil’s Ruin Records, the song became a kind of anthem for the Muddy Roots scene, which appreciates traditional bluegrass and folk as well as noisy punk rock. With its hefty refrain, "Lord, I'm a badass motherfucker / But won't you please let me in?" this quirky gem is sung widely around campfire parties in West Virginia to Indie rock festivals in California. The song is close to becoming part of the Great American Songbook.
Music aficionados on both sides of the Atlantic wonder what's shaking here in the music of THE DAD HORSE EXPERIENCE: Hasil Adkins or Washington Phillips? William S. Burroughs or Søren Kierkegaard? Hank Williams or Wum, the banjo-playing dog of 1970s German television?
It's too limiting to view DAD HORSE OTTN solely as a musician. During his live performances the man with the great black humor readily tells stories both intriguing and mystifying. He switches easily from abyssal sadness to anarchic witticism. With his surreal and twisted style DAD HORSE OTTN has established a worldwide reputation as a genuine European and authentic interpreter of the American gospel & country tradition.
In 2019 the Dad Horse XP turned from a solo project to a full blown band. Dad Horse recruited a fine cast of excellent and award-winning instrumentalists to build up a powerful live set with a core ensemble of three plus him.
Current members of the Dad Horse Experience are: Dad Horse Ottn (banjo, mandoline), Olaf Liebert (bass), Hanno Janssen (drums), Ayumi Valentina Tovazzi (violin), Michael Jungblut (electric guitar), Chandler Pratt (acoustic guitar), Matthias Schinkopf (sax, flute, trumpet)) and occasional guests.
"His music is one of the best in a style of what we call a "transatlantic feedback." DAD HORSE OTTN combines in his unique way American roots with European traditions, Gospel music with this old White Blues, which had some certain roots in European styles too, and with the timeless power of this Rock'n'Roll, which was never far from Gospel music." — Franz Dobler