Danny Gatton. who was born in Washington, D.C., September 4, 1945, began his career playing in bands while still a teenager.
He began to attract wider interest in the D.C. area during the late Seventies and Eighties, both as a solo performer and with his Redneck Jazz Explosion.
He also backed Robert Gordon and Roger Miller. He contributed a cover of "Apricot Brandy," a song by Elektra Records supergroup Rhinoceros, to the 1990 compilation album Rubáiyát.
Gatton’s playing combined musical styles such as jazz, blues and rockabilly in an innovative fashion, and he was known by some as the Telemaster. He was also called the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, and the Humbler, based on his ability to out-play anyone willing to go against him in “head-cutting” jam sessions.
His skills were most appreciated by his peers such as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle and his childhood idol, Les Paul. However, he never achieved the commercial success his talent arguably deserved. His album 88 Elmira Street was nominated for a Grammy 1990 for the track “Elmira Street Boogie” in the category Best Rock Instrumental Performance, but the award went to Eric Johnson for “Cliffs of Dover."
Check out the video clip below for his appearance on the TV show Nightwatch, where he gives some interesting insight into his career at that point, as well as an excellent performance to close the show.
Jonathan Graham is an ACM UK graduate based in London studying under the likes of Guthrie Govan and Pete Friesen. He is the creator of ForgottenGuitar.com, a classic-guitar media website, and is completing his debut album, Protagonist, due for release in 2016. Updates also can be found at Graham's YouTube channel.