Downstairs, All Ages
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Sunday July 22, 2018
To be labeled “The New Master of the Telecaster” is quite a distinction. But to have gained that distinction before the age of 23 puts Nashville-based guitarist Daniel Donato in a class all his own. He’s taking his Tele on the road with him, touring the country and performing at Songbyrd on July 22nd.
For those unfamiliar, the Fender Telecaster was the world’s first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar, made famous by country legends and rock stars alike, from Waylon Jennings to Jimmy Page. And it’s still one of the most popular guitars worldwide, which only adds to the profundity that someone as young as Donato has gained such a “masterful” reputation.
Obviously, he had to put the work in. Starting at age 12, Donato regularly played 12 hours a day every day he wasn’t in school. “When I got into the instrument, it was just the perfect time for me to really dive into something,” says Donato. “Not really being good at skateboarding, not really having a lot of friends, it just worked out.”
Donato was a sponge for musical knowledge. He religiously listened to records, watched YouTube tutorials and instructional DVDs. And, “I lived right outside Nashville, so that didn’t hurt either.”
He was able to observe and emulate some of the world’s best honky tonk, blues and country guitarists virtually whenever he wanted. But learning specific licks and techniques can only take you so far. Donato had to find his own personal style.
“(That’s) the process of taking in information and turning it into inspiration,” says Donato. “Learning somebody else’s (licks) and artistically finding something that resonates with you, then taking that something and making it into your own. Really there can be a small, small thing inside those phrases, and those are the small things that can build into larger creations.”