Jordan Danielsen says he sees transformations when he hosts open mic nights at the Bier Stube in the Village of East Davenport.
“I have an avenue for people to get onstage, to let them get better at what they do,” the Davenport musician said. “You really can’t get better unless you get up onstage and shake a little bit, get past the jitters and learn how to use the microphone.”
Danielsen said he’s seen performers go from opening-night newbies to seasoned veterans who are fronting their own bands or running their own open mic nights.
The Bier Stube and Danielsen will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the German-themed bar’s Tuesday open mic nights next week — which the singer claims to be a record for the Quad-City area.
It’s also, perhaps coincidentally, the CD-release party for Danielsen’s first album, “Night Alone in the City.”
The title track of the album is about his experiences playing weekly in Galena, Ill., and wandering the streets of the tourist attraction before playing clubs at night.
Another song is “Living in a Rap Video,” about suburban teenagers driving around as if they are urban thugs.
And there’s an ode to his passion, “Open Mic.”
Danielsen, 31, was born in Colorado and moved to the Quad-Cities at a young age.
When he was 14, he “just picked up a guitar, learned a couple of chords and wrote a song,” he recalled.
He worked in landscaping until quitting about seven years ago to become a full-time musician, playing three to four gigs a week throughout the region. The divorced dad of a 6-year-old boy, Dylan, lives in Davenport.
Wanting to learn more about music, he enrolled as a performance major at Black Hawk College in Moline. Thanks to those classes, he’s not only learned how to read music — he’s a self-taught guitar player — but has also received the inspiration to use horns and more percussion on his album tracks.
“It’s introduced me to a lot of great people who have helped on the album,” he said of the CD, which was recorded at the Real Trax studio in Davenport.
He also performs with his own band, Jordan Danielsen and the Great Space Coasters, who are also on the album.
Get the Weekender Newsletter
Plan your weekend with our hand-picked list of the Quad Cities' best bets for entertainment.
Danielsen said the songs on the album will appeal to fans of alternative singer-songwriters such as Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, G. Love and Dave Matthews.
CDs will be on sale for $10 each, with 100 in the first printing and 1,000 for the second printing. His music also can be found at several online sites.
Danielsen says he enjoys running the open mic nights, both at the Bier Stube and previously down the hill at the 11th Street Precinct Bar & Grill. He will back up musicians on guitar, percussion or harmonica and give them encouragement when needed.
“I try to be a part of it as much as I can to make people sound better,” he said.
It also means having to fill three or four hours if need be.
“You have to be able to play all night if nobody shows up,” he said, “but that doesn’t happen as much anymore.”