South Shore celebrated a local son’s debut full-length album release, when Darren Senn kicked off his album release shindig at Casey’s in Round Hill Square in Zephyr Cove.
Entitled “Detrimental Tendencies,” Senn’s album is the product of a decade of songwriting. He’s also released a pair of EPs. Senn first picked up the guitar in 2000, when a close friend taught him his first chord and he learned his first song.
“It was the ever-so-friendly E minor, which is in the first song I learned, ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,’ ” he said.
Senn immediately dove into strumming and singing, and was soon creating his own original material.
“I started playing pretty much nonstop for a few years at that point, and started writing songs a couple years into it, after I had learned a bunch of Neil Young and Bob Dylan,” he said. “Kind of the country vibe started coming out in my writing, country-folk vibe, and I’ve been writing songs ever since.”
It wasn’t long before Senn would take the stage as a performer, appearing at Base Camp Pizza, Mott’s Tavern, and other venues around South Lake Tahoe. Gigging regularly until late 2017, Senn took a break from live shows to focus on the recording project.
Now, the singer-songwriter is enjoying this milestone. Officially released Feb. 6, “Detrimental Tendencies” will be available this week for download on iTunes, Spotify and other digital platforms.[pullquote]I’m trying to make my rounds and get my foot in a bunch of doors around the Northwest of California.”[/pullquote]
With 13 original tracks, the record is named after one of Senn’s favorite tunes, a raucous, funny little number originally inspired by a Winston Churchill quote.
“(‘Detrimental Tendencies’) is one of my go-to songs, the 12-bar blues, which is pretty much about as basic as it gets for an American song,” Senn said. “It’s about bad habits and just being wild and free. It just always goes over really well because it’s such an accessible blues tune.”
“Detrimental Tendencies” is a prime example of Senn’s style, drawing on relatable life experiences to craft heartfelt, folksy-country-rock tunes that are full of humor, life and feeling. He has appeared solo, with a single accompaniment, or leading a trio, engaging the audience at will between songs and creating an intimate concert experience, replete with storytelling and personal anecdotes linked to the tunes.
This is the first time that Senn has worked with a full band, inviting along a number of fellow musicians to record under the direction of Martin Shears at Tahoe Production House. The album includes a number of solo Senn tracks, but primarily features the full band. It was recorded over the fall and winter of 2017-2018.
For the Casey’s release party, Senn opened the night off with a solo set, before inviting the group onstage to finish the night off in full-bore fashion.
With the record in tow and upcoming shows including a night in Folsom and a week in Portland, Senn’s next goal is to book a lengthy tour. He has his sights set on the Northwest for starters.
“I’m trying to make my rounds and get my foot in a bunch of doors around the Northwest of California,” he said. “It’s where I know a bunch of people, and it’s nice and close.”
Ultimately, Senn’s philosophy is crystal clear.
“I’m just stoked to be out there,” he said. “You know, just spreading the love man, spreading my songs.
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.