Danny Gatton was a virtuoso guitarist who blended rock, country, jazz, blues and rockabilly into his own unique style. He was nicknamed \"The Humbler\" for his ability to outplay anyone who challenged him on stage. He was also known as \"The World's Greatest Unknown Guitarist\" for his lack of commercial success and recognition.
One of his most acclaimed albums is Redneck Jazz Explosion, a live recording from 1978 featuring pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons and a rhythm section of Steve Wolf on bass and Scott Taylor on drums. The album showcases Gatton's versatility and mastery of various genres, from the hard-swinging Opus de Funk to the exotic Song of India to the country classic Raisin' the Dickens. The album also includes a medley of Land of Make Believe and Tequila, a soulful rendition of Little Darlin', a funky version of Comin' Home Baby, and a soundcheck of Famous Blue Raincoat and The Nutcracker.
Redneck Jazz Explosion is a testament to Gatton's musical genius and his ability to create a fusion of styles that was both original and entertaining. It is a rare and precious gem in the history of guitar music.Danny Gatton was born in 1945 in Washington, D.C. He started playing guitar at the age of nine and was influenced by a variety of musicians, such as Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Roy Buchanan, James Burton and Charlie Christian. He played in various bands and clubs in the D.C. area, developing his reputation as a formidable guitarist and a master of improvisation.
In the late 1970s, he formed his own band called the Redneck Jazz Explosion, which featured Buddy Emmons on pedal steel guitar. Emmons was a legendary musician who had played with Ray Price, Ernest Tubb, Roger Miller and many others. He was also an innovator who expanded the possibilities of the pedal steel guitar by adding more pedals and strings and creating new tunings and effects. Together, Gatton and Emmons created a unique sound that blended jazz, country, rock and blues.
The Redneck Jazz Explosion toured extensively and recorded two live albums: Redneck Jazz in 1978 and Redneck Jazz Explosion Vol. I in 1996. The latter album was released posthumously after Gatton's tragic suicide in 1994. Gatton had suffered from depression and frustration over his lack of commercial success and recognition. He left behind a legacy of brilliant music that influenced many guitarists, such as Albert Lee, Vince Gill, Steve Vai and Joe Bonamassa.One of the most distinctive features of Danny Gatton's guitar playing was his use of various techniques and tools to create different sounds and effects. He was adept at fingerpicking, flatpicking, hybrid picking, tapping, harmonics, slides, bends, pull-offs and hammer-ons. He also used a beer bottle as a slide, a towel as a mute, a banjo capo as a partial capo and a volume pedal as a wah-wah pedal. He could switch between these techniques and tools seamlessly and effortlessly, creating a rich and dynamic musical expression.
Another characteristic of Gatton's guitar playing was his encyclopedic knowledge of musical genres and styles. He could play anything from jazz standards to rockabilly classics to country hits to blues shuffles to pop tunes. He could also mix and match these genres and styles in his improvisations, creating unexpected and delightful combinations. He was not afraid to experiment and explore new musical territories, always pushing the boundaries of his instrument and his imagination.
Danny Gatton was a true master of the guitar and a pioneer of redneck jazz. He was a humble and generous musician who shared his talent and passion with his audiences and fellow musicians. He was also a troubled and tormented soul who struggled with his inner demons and his place in the music industry. He left us too soon, but his music lives on in our hearts and ears. aa16f39245