When singer-songwriter Dan Lavoie first set off on a solo career as a touring musician, he sometimes ran into an unlikely group of showgoers: Fans who were there to see an acoustic harp guitarist named Dan LaVoie – in other words, not him.
For a while, the same thing happened to the harp-playing LaVoie, he said, and in the Age of the Internet, online searches for either musician will inevitably direct browsers to web page after web page about Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Lavoie.
Dan Lavoie would learn after the fact that he and his namesake with a capital “V” in his surname grew up just a few towns away from each other in New York state.
But as Lavoie arrives in Moab this weekend to perform a solo show at The Blu Pig on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m., he’s put any confusion about which Lavoie/LaVoie is which far behind him.
“It’s gotten much easier now through touring,” he said.
On the penultimate leg of his latest tour, Lavoie has been driving his Kia Sedona across the Southwest to promote his most recent album, “Songs of a New Sun.”
Although he’s performing on his own, “Songs of a New Sun” is a full-band record, featuring a hired drummer and keyboard player, as well as recording engineer David Andersen on bass guitar.
Andersen – who is now an engineer and the studio manager of the famed Sound City in Los Angeles, where Nirvana recorded “Nevermind” – previously operated a studio on a farm in Accord, New York. To make the record, Lavoie lived on the farm for nine days around last Halloween, working with Andersen to capture a fuller sound.
“In my heart, I wanted it to be a live soul band record,” he said.
Lavoie’s tastes run far beyond soul, to rock, blues, folk, classical and funk jams. His many influences span from Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and country music legend Hank Williams Sr. to Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and the Grateful Dead to Prince and Radiohead.
“You name it,” he said. “I’m into a lot of different genres.”
Lavoie has been a musician since he was 12 years old, and he performed in several different bands growing up.
He began to re-evaluate his life when he found himself in a “Mr. Mom” situation as a stepdad, and about six years ago, he embarked on his first tour as a solo artist.
“Somewhere along the line, I realized that it was just easier on my own, because I’m in it for the long haul,” he said.
At first, the tours were relatively short, but over the years, his time on the road kept growing and growing. Today, he’s averaging about 10 months each year on tour, with few nights to himself in between gigs.
“From now until Thanksgiving evening, I will have a couple of nights off,” he said.
In a sign of just how jam-packed his schedule is, Lavoie’s show at The Blu Pig is one of two gigs he’ll be playing on Oct. 22: Earlier that afternoon, he’ll be at the Palisade Brewing Company in Palisade, Colorado.
Inevitably, he’s found that his experiences traveling from place to place work their way into his music.
“A lot of my songs tend to be written on the road,” he said.
Lavoie has performed at the Grand Canyon Brewing Company in Williams, Arizona, four or five times now, performing a mix of songs that have broad appeal, according to Josie Bustillos, who books shows for the venue.
Bustillos said that on the strength of his first performance alone, she knew the venue would bring him back for more appearances.
“He’s amazing,” she said. “I think that what’s great about Dan is he kind of appeals to all … He’s great about reaching out to the crowds.”
While other musicians have grown noticeably tired after relatively short sets, Bustillos marveled that Lavoie “just kept paddling through” an epic four-hour show.
While he’s spent more time lately on the road, Lavoie said he counts his blessings, noting that he’s been able to see some of the most beautiful places in the world, from Sedona, Arizona, to La Veta, Colorado, and now, Moab.
“I’ve actually never been there, so I’m really excited,” he said.
From here, it’s back to Colorado, and then on to New Mexico, Oklahoma and points eastward on his way back to his home base in New York.
After one week in the same place, his extended family in Pawling, New York, might think that he’s getting ready to settle down again, but Lavoie has other plans: He’s going to head off on another tour.
“My family’s not going to be too happy,” he laughed.
Singer-songwriter Lavoie to perform at The Blu Pig
What: Dan Lavoie in concert
When: Sunday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.
Where: The Blu Pig, 811 S. Main St.
Cost: Admission is free; 21 and over
Information: 435-259-3333; www.reverbnation.com/danlavoie
The Blu Pig is located at 811 S. Main St. For more information, call 435-259-3333. To learn more about Lavoie, go to: www.reverbnation.com/danlavoie, or www.facebook.com/DanLavoieMusicianBand/.