Magazine article Guitar Player

Young Vigilante: Is Daniel Donato Really the New Master Op the Telecaster?

Magazine article Guitar Player

Young Vigilante: Is Daniel Donato Really the New Master Op the Telecaster?

Article excerpt

AT JUST 20 YEARS OLD, DANIEL Donato's Olympic-level chops have made him the latest 6-string wizard in Don Kelley's legendary honky-tonk band. Donato actually started with Kelly three years ago, but he was wowing the crowds on Nashville's Lower Broadway even earlier.

"At 14, I played on the street next to a shoebox out that said 'Money for a Tele,'" he says.

Now, with a Hal Leonard instructional book entitled Daniel Donato: The New Master of the Telecaster, it appears those shoebox donations went to a very good cause.

What made you decide to play guitar?

My dad got me a Squier Strat when I was around ten because he thought I would be good at guitar, but I never wanted to play. When I finally picked it up at 12, he said, "You're not going to learn this." Once you say I'm not going to do something, I want to do it. Then, the summer before I entered high school, I sat in with a band at Legend's Corner [Broadway, Nashville], and that was the first time I played a Telecaster. That was the coolest feeling in the world, and I thought, "This is what I'm going to do the rest of my life."

What led you to country music?

I started learning "Mama Tried," and Merle Haggard led to everything else. When I saw the Don Kelley Band, it sparked the fire even more. I was waking up mornings at seven, and playing until seven at night, every day when I wasn't in school. I'd hear the songs they were doing downtown--like George Jones and Dwight Yoakam--and I'd find the records. The stuff Pete Anderson played on Dwight's records was perfect to learn for someone just getting into the genre. …

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