Musician Dane Louis reflects on dream collaborations and the company behind show business | Siouxland’s Choice Award

Dane Louis is ready to make a big bet, but it won’t take place at a craps table.

Instead, the Sioux City-based country singer-songwriter will depart for Nashville in April.

“I’ve been planning the move for some time,” said 24-year-old Louis. “Things kept getting in the way.”

Specifically, this “stuff” was related to COVID-19, which effectively shut down Music City, USA for a period of time.

The pandemic has also seriously curtailed Louis’ normally busy representational schedule.

“When the clubs were closed, I took advantage of the downtime,” he said. “If I can’t play music, I’ll write music.”

The result is a new single, “Whiskey Wears Off”, a new attitude and a new Siouxland’s Choice Award for Favorite Country Artist.

Hello, Dan. Imagine ending up at Hard Rock’s Anthem. It’s like a second home for you, isn’t it?

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“Looks like it. For a long time, I felt like I alternated with Ben Grillet when it came to opening for big country names.”

Well, you’ve opened for quite a few A-Listers. Guys like Joe Diffie and Billy Currington. Have you ever watched their backstage sets and tried to incorporate some of their performing art into your performance?

“I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best artists in the business. Each time has been a learning experience.”

I know the last big name you opened for was Casey Donahew (at Anthem Jan. 22). What did you learn from him?

“I learned from Casey that it’s possible to put on a great show within minutes of leaving the game room. Casey is a nice guy and has a great team around him. But he liked to play.”

If you gamble at the casinos, I imagine you have to do something before the shows to let off steam. After all, a big part of show business is the business aspect, don’t you think?

“Totally. Over the past year, I’ve been on several trips to Nashville where meetings have come and gone. You meet marketing people, radio people. It’s really a business there.”

Yet, it all comes back to the music.

“Always. Getting your music done is a shitty shoot. Being passionate about your music is something else entirely. If you believe in your music, get in a van, put on a show, and never be afraid to suck. That’s something I heard (The Eagles’) Glenn Frey once said in a documentary. With more practice, you’ll gain confidence and you’ll suck less. But still, you have to take the first step.

OK, here’s one last tough question. If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?

“Man, that’s tough. Before he died, I would have loved to work with Tom Petty. It would also be a dream come true if I could collaborate with Jason Isbell or Eric Church. It would be so awesome.”