Local music: Dane Terry

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Columbus will lose one of its greatest talents later this month when Dane Terry packs up his keyboard and moves to New York, a city better suited for the "avant one-man musical theater with a queer bent" that he's been honing for the past two years.

Terry, 27, came to a conclusion last summer: He's a professional musician, for better or worse.

"I'm not very employable," Terry cracked during an interview last week. "I worked at Hot Topic for a month once."

Since debuting at family friend Sharon Weiss' art gallery as a teenager, Terry has worked as an events pianist, playing standards at mostly "old stuffy gigs" to pay the bills. Now he wants to transition into playing his unique brand of performance art for a living. He'll do so in the Big Apple, where the comedic cabaret act will find a more natural habitat - like, say, bars equipped with in-house pianos, a rarity at the rock dives he frequents in Columbus.

"I'm going to New York because it's the place to be for stuff like this," Terry said. "New York has an infrastructure for what I do. Plus, it's f---ing New York!"

Before he departs, the entertainer extraordinaire will throw one final shebang Friday at Carabar, featuring opening sets from fellow solo performers Andrew Graham and Time and Temperature, as a conclusion to the latest chapter of Terry's musical evolution.

He picked up piano at age 12, when a friend demonstrated Pachelbel's "Canon." Terry caught on prodigiously.

"I learned like lightning," Terry said, "and within a year I was playing like Jerry Lee Lewis."

His self-taught skills made it tough to gain entry to Ohio State's music school, but Terry willed his way in, sticking around just long enough to get turned on to the atonal neoclassical sounds that now color his unique twist on Tin Pan Alley.

The only thing he still lacked was the confidence to pursue his craft. Soon enough, he saw Regina Spektor at Bonnaroo and realized he could do it better. Around the same time he befriended kindred spirit Jordan O'Jordan, a banjo-wielding Columbus ex-pat whose encouragement spurred Terry on.

Thus, since 2008, Terry has become a fixture on Columbus stages, releasing the incredible "Songs of the Telephant" and embarking on multiple cross-country jaunts - and that's besides his work as a sideman for projects like Andrew Graham's Swarming Branch and Maza Blaska, or other endeavors like notating the music for his friend's radical queer musical "Fabulous Artistic Guys Get Overtly Traumatized Sometimes."

The next step in his journey is uprooting from his home, a move that has Terry excited but terribly nervous.

"I hope I'm not back here four months from now," he said.

Dane Terry

10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10


115 Parsons Ave., Olde Towne East