For the first time since leaving Hannibal 20 years ago, Daniel Link is returning home to perform at 7 p.m., Sunday, July 25, at Java Jive. Link, who currently lives in Austin, Texas, left Hannibal in 1984 after graduating from Hannibal High School to pursue a life in music, and has since caught the attention of people in Austin and elsewhere with his performances and CD releases. "This is the first time playing in Hannibal since a high school talent show in '84," said Link. "I'm very excited about it ¬ it really cooks. I credit Hannibal as a nurturing place for my creativity. I'm connected to the land and river. It feels really good to be coming home to do music. My mother is very proud and thrilled." Link describes his music as Americana new-folk. "It's not really country and not really rock and roll," he said. "I compare it to James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Chris Isaac. Although my greatest influence has been Fleetwood Mac. I love great songwriters and Fleetwood Mac has three of the best." Although Link is usually accompanied onstage by bass player Johnny Big, formerly of the band Dysfunction Jynction, he will be performing on stage as a one-man show with his keyboard Sunday night, while his partner fills other obligations. "Johnny and I work very well together," said Link. "He was looking for a different flavor of music and liked where my musical direction was headed with my voice and song writing. We play and work very well together and share a lot of chemistry." Big has toured with Billy Idol, Bo Diddley and Ted Nugent in the past. As a part of the original cast of the Mark Twain Outdoor Theatre in 1979, Link performed for six years onstage. When he expressed a desire to play the piano, his parents purchased one. "I learned from watching my mother, who is not a professional, but very good," he said. "I don't read music, I play by ear and my strong desire to make music works for me." Hannibal was also an inspiration for his CD, "Ghost Stories," where the "Someone in Austin" came in at number two on MAJIC 95.5 FM's 2003 Local Music Countdown. "We lived in Oakwood on 36th Street," said Link. "The house was haunted, and it inspired me to write ghost stories with interesting metaphors. One of the songs is called 'Seance.' I wrote all the songs on the CD. Everything I play is my own material. I'm currently working on my third CD. The emphasis is on lyric content and a lot of people really like what they hear." One of the most memorable events Link has experienced lately is when he debuted in March for the premier episode of Nashville Star ¬ and muffed the lyrics. "It was hilarious on the clip. The song I picked was John Mellancamp's 'Jack and Diane.' I forgot the words. But I guess it was memorable enough to show on a clip. I can't believe I did that," he laughed. "I love music and feel blessed to be doing it on the level where I'm at right now." The youngest of six children born to Rosell and the late James W. (Jimmie) Link, he said there is a lot of family remaining in Hannibal, as well as some in Austin. "Austin is a very creative and liberal city loaded with talented musicians and singers," said Link. "But it's great to be home. Right now (Thursday), I'm about 1 1/2 hours from Chicago, standing in a cornfield in the rain, talking to you and loving every minute of it. "I'm debating playing the song I performed all those years ago, 'Track a Ghost,' which by the way is the first song I've ever written. I recorded it in a friend's home studio in Hannibal. I hope all my friends and family will make it to this special show on Sunday." Admission to the show will be $5. CDs will be available for sale.
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