When singer Dan Lotti and guitarist Mike Sivilli first gigged around Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005, they didn't want to take themselves too seriously. So they chose a name that made them laugh: Dangermuffin.
But something unexpected has happened over the past decade. They've been playing their brand of folk music, many times six nights a week, and "somehow Dangermuffin developed into a much deeper meaning," Lotti tells New Times. "We have a T-shirt with a design where Eve is picking a muffin from a tree in the Garden of Eden. Our music is the forbidden fruit."
Set to release their sixth album, Heritage, March 31, they've looked to Mother Earth as an influence, using bluegrass and other mountain music as touchstones. Heritage was a stab at many new directions for the veteran band. Drummer Steven Sandifer moved to upright bass to try something new. They believe they accomplished what they set out to do in creating an acoustic folk record that is not the least bit sleepy.
Lotti recently moved into the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, where his wife is studying herbal medicine. Her idea of shamanic heritage is what really shaped the record. "We have a song called 'The Sea & the Rose' that ties into plants and the connections we have with herbs. Shamanic culture is about reconnecting and learning about how much wisdom is in the past. Each person holds memories of what happened on the planet. We're in such crazy times; we need to connect with the planet."
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That might sound heavy, but Dangermuffin's new record has a lighter vibe. While you can hear the folk and bluegrass, there's an upbeat tone that will appeal to fans of the Dave Matthews Band. Miami can get a bite of Dangermuffin when the band plays its second-ever South Florida show March 16 at the Wynwood Yard.
"It's good vibes and good energy," Lotti says of their live show. "Whenever I perform, it's transformative for me — all the bullshit fades away. I smile a lot, and that can resonate throughout the room. The way I see it, there's no reason to travel across the country unless I'm bringing positive energy out there to help people heal."
9 p.m. Thursday, March 16, at the Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-447-8678; thewynwoodyard.com. Admission is free.