Daniel Amos began as an acoustic quartet formed in 1975 by Terry Scott Taylor, Steve Baxter, Jerry Chamberlain and Marty Dieckmeyer. (Drummer Ed McTaggart joined the band shortly after the release of it's first album). Although some of the band members' previous bands had been playing straight rock music, D.A.'s early sound was heavily inspired by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Band, Steely Dan and The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Those influences can be heard most predominantly on the band's first self-titled album, released in 1976. That album, along with the concert favorite of the time, "Aint Gonna Fight It," was recently reissued in a deluxe 2 disc anniversary edition.
The band's sophomore release, 1977's Shotgun Angel, gave fans a hint at the experimental and creative sounds that would be heard from the band in the years that followed. Although "side one" didn't wander too far from the acoustic sounds of the first record, "side two" took listeners on a musical journey with lush orchestrations and a string of rock songs linked together in a way that was reminiscent of The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers or Abbey Road albums. By 1978, the band, which had grown to include Alex MacDougall on Percussion and Mark Cook on Keyboards, had began work on it's first entirely rock 'roll effort, the iconic Horrendous Disc, which quickly became a favorite to many of D.A's fans. After a bewildering chain of events that remain shrouded in mystery to this day, the band's record label kept the album on the shelf until weeks before their fourth album was to be released in April of 1981. In spite of the exhausting delays surounding the release of their new album, the band continued to tour heavily throughout those "missing years," including a tour with songwriter Randy Stonehill, known to fans as the legendary "Amos n' Randy Tour."
Alarma!, whose sound has often been compared to the music of The Talking Heads or Elvis Costello, was the first of a four part set of albums which were dubbed "The Alarma! Chronicles." Each of the four albums included an installment of a short story linking all four projects together. By the time of the Alarma! Tour in 1981, the band had lost Dieckmeyer, Cook and MacDougall and gained new bassist Tim Chandler. Alarma! was followed by Doppelganger, Vox Humana and Fearful Symmetry. Each of the four albums of the Alarma! Chronicles explored new musical territory for the band, augmented by new guitarist Greg Flesch and keyboardist Rob Watson. The tours that followed each release also charted new territory, offering audience members an unusual blend of fast paced New Wave rock'n roll, mannequins, and - something which has become commonplace in concerts these days but was very unusual at the time - a full multimedia event with television screens, showing a variety of images that were synchronized to the music.
In 1987, the band delivered the unusual Darn Floor - Big Bite, which is often praised as the band's masterpiece among fans and critics alike. Harvest Rock Syndicate said that the album "defies easy description. Each listening brings new insights, impressions..."
After a short hiatus, which included numerous solo albums from Taylor, several albums by the Swirling Eddies, a couple of live releases and an endless amount of production work for other artists, the band returned in 1991 with Kalhoun. Jerry Chamberlain retured as a second guitarist in time for 1993's MotorCycle, 1994's BibleLand and 1995's Songs of the Heart. The close of the 1990s saw the release of a tribute album that included a wide variety of artists that were fans of the band, each recording some of their best known songs. Artists that participated in the album included The 77s, Starflyer59, Gene Eugene of Adam Again, Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman, The Throes, Jimmy Abegg of Rich Mullins' a Ragamuffin Band & Vector, Rick Altizer, Animator Doug TenNapel, Phil Madeira, Erin Echo, John Austin, Bobby Mittan of The Ocean Blue, Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong of The Choir, and many others.
The band's latest album, Mr. Buechner's Dream, is an epic 2 CD double album that pays tribute to Frederick Buechner, Walker Percy, T. S. Eliot, G. K. Chesterton, Flannery O'Connor, Lewis Carroll, Dorothy L. Sayers, and other authors that have inspired DA's lyrics for years. Musically, the album includes the guitar driven rockers; the heart wrenching balads; the thought provoking lyrics; and the innovative studio techniques and production that the band has become known for for so many years. A DVD was released in 2005, entitled The Making of Mr. Buechner's Dream, which chronicles the recording process.
Although concert performances are rare, Daniel Amos continues to be one of the most creative, innovative and influential rock'n roll bands of the last few decades.