Skip to main content



“Heard a Withered Hand track in the caff; then saw a boy in a WH T-shirt.
Is Dan Willson taking over the world?” – Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastian) 2012
Over the past few years Withered Hand – aka Edinburgh DIY folk-rock troubadour Dan Willson – has released an outstanding debut album, Good News, two further mercurial Eps, became a much-loved associate of Fife-based musical powerhouse Fence Collective and won fans including Jarvis Cocker and Rolling Stone Magazine (who decreed him “Artist to Watch”).

“Beautifully constructed lyrical frameworks … on this banjo-tinged brand of Caledonian gospel” – **** – Good News review – MOJO 2010

Active in the world of visual art and dabbling in music for many years, Dan Willson came late to singing and songwriting at age 30, in a period of reflection between the death of a close friend and the birth of his first child. The resultant material, much of which went on to become the album Good News, has been rightly praised for it’s depth and startling honesty. To illustrate the slow-burning word-of-mouth nature of it’s renown songs from Good News have been covered by artists as diverse as Scotland’s own King Creosote to award-winning Canadian Folk Pop ensemble Woodpigeon and praise for this humble album from heavy hitters as BBC DJ and former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker to ‘Dean of American Rock Critics’ Robert Christgau and Rolling Stone Magazine USA, often many months later.

“the UK’s best lyricist” – King Creosote, in The Independent 2012

Dan found time out of touring last year to play a key role in the CS award-winning Scottish theatre and music collaborative project entitled Whatever Gets You Through The Night, directed by Cora Bissett. Cora was keen to include him at an early stage of the project and he went on to contribute two original songs to the stage-show, performing live at every date of the sold-out run at The Arches theatre in Glasgow. Dan was also chosen as one of three high profile mentors (alongside James Yorkston and Rod Jones of Idlewild) by the Scottish Mental Health Charity The Fruit Tree Foundation and worked in 2011 as mentor to a young musician called Marie Collins as a result, offering advice and overseeing a studio recording and a sold-out collaborative performance.

“Killer melodies … wobbly folk grooves … tunes full of warm, woozy sing-song charm” – ‘Artist to Watch’ – Rolling Stone – 2011

Amidst growing acclaim for his musical output and live performances, Dan steers his career carefully, surviving as a professional musician whilst staying true to his singular artistic vision and balancing these demands with responsibility for a young family. Following a steep learning curve at the business end of music, Dan successfully licensed his work in USA and Europe, signed an agreement with Rough Trade Publishing in 2012 for his existing work with interest in future output, alongside releasing two more well-received EPs of original material.

Dan has toured widely, from solo shows in USA to several tours of Europe and UK, including notable festivals such as SXSW, Green Man and Celtic Connections. Dan was proud to represent Scotland at SXSW in Austin, Texas in 2011 and was prominently featured in the BBC Scotland Artworks documentary on the festival. Dan has fostered good relationships with a network of promoters and in doing so commands a dedicated live following both at home and Internationally.

At the invitation of the BBC, Withered Hand have recorded several live studio sessions for BBC6 and BBC Radio Scotland since 2010 and enjoys continued support from eminent DJ’s such as Marc Riley, Vic Galloway and Tom Morton.

“He records like Billy Childish and mixes like the Blue Nile” – Darren Hayman

In 2012, some of the fruits of a lo-fi collaboration with Darren Hayman (formerly of Hefner) were released in the UK on Fence Records as the raucous Heart Heart EP and the remainder unveiled on the more reflectiveInbetweens EP, on Willson’s own B&D imprint in UK/released in Europe on Icelandic label Kimi. The same year saw Channel 4’s celebrated youth drama ‘Skins’ licensing several WH tracks, alongside placements in film, including the Scottish director David Mackenzie movie ‘You Instead.’

“A brand new track, Jubilee, pulled the biggest punch, and it promises greater things yet of Withered Hand.” **** – Live review of Queens Hall Edinburgh Festival headline show 2012 – The Herald

Recent Withered Hand shows have included exciting new material and unexpected new collaborations with the likes of Pam Berry (of seminal 90’s US noise-pop band Black Tambourine), alongside a rotating cast of musical luminaries embellishing Dan’s compositions. Over the summer Dan and his new batch of collaborators gathered in Glasgow to record the new Withered Hand album New Gods with producer Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian/Pastels/Mogwai), which is now slated for release in February 2014.

Sometimes it takes one spellbinding live performance before an artist’s seemingly obvious-to- everyone-else talent really sinks in. I’ve always appreciated Dan Willson’s songcraft in a rather passive way, but I walked away from this Withered Hand solo show a fully subscribed fan – and I wasn’t the only one. Nick Mitchell – Stag & Dagger Festival review – The Scotsman 2011

Current Release –


Withered Hand

“New Gods”

(Slumberland Records [US/CAN] and Fortuna POP! [UK/EU])


Pics (click for high res)

WitheredHand_PhotocreditLauraLewis3  wh_by_ianwest creditpamberry creditmalcolmbenzie pam_dan_by_pierre_antoine

[media]<iframe width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”no” src=”;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;visual=true”></iframe>[/media]