A Big Something – Newsobserver

Newsobserver.com
By Ed Condran

When Greg Dulli came up with the Twilight Singers concept a decade ago, it was modeled after the Golden Palominos.

“I just wanted to do what Anton Fier did with the Golden Palominos,” Dulli says in a call from New Orleans. “It was about one guy, me, being surrounded by different players.”

Dulli didn’t count on the Twilight Singers being more than a side project. Yet Dulli, who works on other projects such as The Gutter Twins, is on Twilight Singers disc number five, “Dynamite Steps,” which dropped in February.

“That shows that you never know what will happen,” Dulli says.

“Dynamite Steps” is composed of intense, melancholy tracks. Dulli is at his most angst-ridden, which recalls his finest hours as an Afghan Whig. (Intense and alt-rock, The Afghan Whigs broke up in 2001 after a 15-year run.)

“My approach hasn’t changed,” Dulli says. “I make music for me. I make music that I would like, and I think about other people later. I love working on these albums with people like (singer-songwriters) Mark (Lanegan), Ani (DiFranco) and (vocalist-violinist) Petra (Haden). Every album, every song is different.”

That helps Dulli stand out in a world of recording artists who release albums with a single and nine songs that sound like the featured track. “That’s no way to be,” he says.

The Twilight Singers will showcase “Dynamite Steps” Saturday at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. Expect Dulli to continue crafting Twilight Singer albums. An Afghan Whig reunion is unlikely, although he has had encounters with bassist John Curley and guitarist Rick McCollum.

“I’ll never say never, but I don’t see that happening,” Dulli says. “John played with me during my acoustic tour for the Afghan Whig songs. I hadn’t talked to Rick in five years. But he called me yesterday, and I spoke to him for five minutes. It’s good talking to those guys, but I think I’m just going to continue with this. Going back with them would be like having sex with your ex-wife. Maybe that’s fun, but I don’t think I want to do that. I’m having a good time with this. I think I’m doing good work.”

That’s especially so with live performances. Dulli is an engaging entertainer, who lets it all hang loose.

“I like to go all out,” he says. “I recently saw Prince, and I’m not easily excited, but I was jumping up and down like a little girl at his show. That’s the kind of experience I want to provide. I want to do what moves me.”

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