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BellyUp Aspen Welcome's Jeff Daniels the Musician, With or Without the Moped

Jamie Lynn Miller's picture

What started as a distraction has become a true passion and a whole new creative outlet. “Playing guitar used to be my back porch hobby, something to take me away from showbiz for awhile. Then it became my best friend. To be honest, the guitar kept me sane,” he shares. And now, he’s out on the road and behind a guitar, as opposed to a camera, for as long as he’s ever been. “This is the first time I’ve ever said to the acting business, ‘Don’t call me, I’m unavailable until January.’”

When the tour rolls back home, proceeds from his new endeavor, including CD sales and downloads, will go to Daniels’ brainchild and not-for-profit baby, the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, Michigan. The Purple Rose features New American plays, six to seven times a week, about 44 weeks out of the year. “The theater’s dedicated to Michigan playwrights and after 20 years, it runs like a creative machine. I’m the unpaid executive director but all the people are in place – it’s designed so I can leave; it’s their thing, their home. The Purple Rose nurtures the artists in Southeastern Michigan and focuses on working playwrights, those who are consistently writing. We actually produce the plays as well, which can be risky, what with the time and cost, but we love the challenge of it.”

In the meantime, the man plays on. The change of scenery, the mastering of new craft and the challenge of being “another actor turned singer/songwriter” fuels the creative fire. “I’ve always let movies lead the way. But now, I’m enjoying this so much.”

Jeff Daniels at BellyUp Aspen Friday, November 5th. Tickets and details, www.bellyupaspen.com.