Album Review: Dan Padley — ‘Druthers’ (out Nov. 1)

Dan Padley (a member of Laranja and Elizabeth Moen’s band) is releasing a new EP of ambient guitar improvisations Nov. 1 to benefit the Emma Goldman Clinic.

Padley is not wedded to a specific style of music. With Elizabeth Moen, he meshes with her rootsy singer-songwriter style; with Laranja, he explores modern jazz. On Druthers he probes the possibilities of ambient guitar improvisation. There are echoes of Pat Metheny’s more spaced-out work, but as on his recent album Perfectly Whelmed, he is doing his own hard-to-pin-down thing.

Jazz may be the anchor of his work, but on Druthers, Padley explores tonalities closer to American folk music, with a dash of Indian raga. He uses finger-picking on the title track, connecting him with folk primitivists like John Fahey, but the elegant, meditative dreaminess is all his own. “Stubs” has a naive clockwork ostinato that recalls Raymond Scott’s Soothing Sounds for Baby.

Druthers seems almost too short, but that’s Padley’s way; he gives the music all the time it needs to set the mood and get to the point, but no loitering. It’s a show-biz cliché to “always leave them wanting more,” but in Padley’s case, I could definitely go for more of this.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »



Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

Don’t let other people’s opinions win.

Vote for your favorite people, places and events in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area! In a time when local businesses need our support more than ever, your vote will send a little love to the places that make our community special. And don’t forget to tell us why—the best comments will be published in our December Best of the CRANDIC 2021 issue! Voting ends September 30.

Read the Best of the CRANDIC issue, on stands now

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.