R.I.P. Dan Sartain, Garage Rock Musician Dead at 39

Alabama garage-rock musician Dan Sartain has died at the age of 39. According to Pitchfork, Sartain’s manager confirmed that he passed on Saturday March 20th, but that no cause of death has been revealed.

Sartain was born and raised in Alabama, and he got involved in the Birmingham music scene in the early 2000s. He self-released his first two albums, 2001’s Crimson Guard and 2002’s Romance In Stereo, but then signed to the local label Skybucket for a limited edition tour album called Sartain Family Legacy 1981-1998.

That same year, he released his commercial debut Dan Sartain vs. the Serpientes on Swami Records, where he stayed before jumping to One Little Indian for a prolific run of records in the early 2010s. Although he was often slapped wit the rockabilly tag, Sartain’s music was way more eclectic than just one style or sound. He incorporated elements of garage-rock, punk, blues, country, and old-school rock and roll throughout his 20-year run.

Given his diverse discography, he was able to tour with artists like The White Stripes, Social Distortion, Reverend Horton Heat, Hot Snakes, The Hives, and many others. He hadn’t released an album of new original material since 2016’s Century Plaza, but he did drop a few projects in 2020: a country-western covers album called Western Hills, a collection of tracks he recorded at Sun Studio, and a one-off collaborative track with Ganxsta Nip that raised money for the Black Lives Matter Global Network.

A GoFundMe to raise money for Sartain’s funeral costs has already surpassed its initial goal, but the organizers are still accepting donations.

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