Singer-songwriter Bill Danoff, who started out solo before recording (unsuccessfully) with Fat City and (successfully) as one-fourth of the Starland Vocal Band, is going it alone again: Wednesday he'll make his fourth debut at the Birchmere in Alexandria. Well, kind of, he says. "It's my first solo gig, but I'm going to have some people helping me out," including guitarist-singer Mary Chapin Carpenter, session guitarist John Jennings and Danny Pendleton on steel, bass, dobro and guitar. "It's basically me singing my songs and a couple of others that I like," Danoff says. "I'll highlight the ones that have been successful," which include two No. 1 hits, "Country Roads" and "Afternoon Delight."
The newer material is original or culled from Danoff's latest venture, a song publishing company. "In the course of sending out these songs, I found out that I had a bunch in the more folky-country vein that would probably be good for me. I want to go out and see if they really work. Sometime this year I'll start looking for a record deal; in the last year or two I really haven't been interested in that because I was more concerned with starting the company."
Danoff Music is doing quite well, he adds. Its first placement was Jon Carroll's "Get Closer," the title cut and first single from Linda Ronstadt's recent album. A Danoff-Carroll collaboration, "Who Knows How to Make Love Stay," has just been released as the new single by Doug and the Slugs, and "we just got a call about a John Jennings song that I love a whole lot called 'Oh Dear.' Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire is going to cut it on Jennifer ("Dreamgirls") Holliday's first album. I knew it was a smashing song for someone to do."