Born in Washington, D.C. on September 4, 1945, Danny Gatton began his career playing in bands while still a teenager and began to attract wider interest in the Washington, DC, area during the late 1970s and 1980s, 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, from his ability to out-play anyone willing to go up 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 that his talent arguably deserved. His album 88 Elmira Street was nominated for a Grammy Award 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.