With his new album, Dana Countryman invites you inside his home recording studio in Everett. Sort of.
With “Come Into My Studio,” Countryman has released his latest album of what he calls “retro pop,” or new songs in the styles of the late ’60s to the early ’70s. Think the Beach Boys, Elton John and The Beatles.
“It’s my era that I grew up with,” he said. “It’s my favorite style, and nobody else is really doing that. I just have a lot of fun writing and recording in this style. And I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can.”
Countryman, 65, whose music career spans four decades, is best known for his collaboration with famed French electronic music pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey and as a member of the vocal quartet The Amazing Pink Things.
Countryman and Perrey recorded two albums together: “The Happy Electropop Music Machine” (2006) and “Destination Space” (2008). Their single “Chicken on the Rocks” was featured in an episode of “South Park” that aired in 2010.
He was a singer-songwriter with The Amazing Pink Things from 1985 to 1991. The Manhattan Transfer-inspired act sang satirical songs, most of them written by Countryman. In 1987, they appeared on the Arsenio Hall-hosted “The Late Show,” where they performed “We’re Just Too White” in front of a nearly all-black audience.
Countryman also was the founder of Cool and Strange Music Magazine, which featured interviews with music legends such as Les Paul, Stan Freberg and Robert Moog. He served its editor and publisher from 1996 to 2003.
In 2010, Countryman released his all-instrumental solo Moog synthesizer album, “Moog-Tastic!” The album was nominated for a Grammy Award that year. Also, in 2010, he wrote a biography on Jean-Jacques Perrey titled “Passport To The Future.”
No matter how many bands he’s in or albums he records, the mainstay of Countryman’s work is the original song itself.
His influences include the Carpenters, The Beatles, Bread, Harry Nilsson, Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, Carole King, Eric Carmen and Gilbert O’Sullivan.
“I’ve worked with a few of my heroes from when I was a teenager over the years,” he said. “I met Richard Carpenter and, a lot of people say I sound like Richard Carpenter when I sing some of my solo things. I’m not trying to; it just comes out that way.”
Countryman set a goal in 2013: Record a new album of original music in one year’s time. Every year.
Seven years later, Countryman has seven albums to his name, including “Pop!” (2013), “Pop2!” (2014), “Pop3!” (2015), “Girlville!” (2016), “The Joy of Pop” (2017) and “Cabaret of Love” (2018). In 2019, he worked with his wife, Tricia, on a solo album of hers.
The 15-track album “Come Into My Studio” includes the songs “Take a Little Chance,” in the style of The Monkees or The Partridge Family, “Same Old Dream,” which was inspired by Paul McCartney’s “granny music,” and “Then She Smiles,” with a jazzy Bossa nova sound. The album also has one original Christmas song added as a bonus track.
Countryman does most of his songwriting when driving to and from work at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. He is an operating room X-ray technician there. He’ll take out his iPhone and, working hands-free, he’ll record ideas for new lyrics, melodies and harmonies on his 70-mile round-trip commute. His license plate cover jokes: “Don’t distract me. I’m writing songs in here.”
He has recorded each of these written-in-the-car albums in his at-home studio off Colby Avenue in Everett. With each recording, Countryman likes to include one song in a style from the past he’s never written before, such as disco or R&B.
“My bag is to write songs that make people feel good,” said Countryman, who sings and plays piano, bass, drums and rhythm guitar. “I don’t write depressing, sad songs; they’re all pretty upbeat and happy. Some people say it’s hard to be in a bad mood after they listen to one of my albums. I take that as a major compliment.”
His wife, Tricia Countryman, was a fellow member of The Amazing Pink Things from 1989 to 1990. They married in 1991. She loves that Dana has been able to meet his own deadlines to record a new album every year.
“He’s amazing; he just has music exploding out of him,” she said. “If you’ve got that much talent, you should share it with the world. It’s what makes him happy, and he’s good at it, so he should do it.”
In addition to Tricia’s album “Just The Two Of Us: The Duet Album” last year, husband and wife recorded an album, “In Harmony,” together in 2012.
While Dana has never put on a show in Snohomish County — he doesn’t do live shows anymore — he has worked with Rick Bowen, Mike Marinig and Jeff Menteer of Edmonds’ Stacy Jones Band. They have all contributed to his albums over the years.
“I enjoy working out of my home now,” he said. “I’m still having a ball, but I’m done with traveling, tearing down and setting up, and dealing with agents and managers.”
Listen to Dana Countryman’s discography, including “Come Into My Studio,” at www.danacountryman.com.