The bottom line: Will Danforth plays roots music...traditional folk, blues, classic country...and he's been playing it for 35 years. That's deep roots. But it's not locked in time - he also has a deep well of originals drawn from these styles. Buckets & buckets of 'em. And he does some real tasty contemporary covers. So the traditional is relevant to today, and you can hear the family tree in the originals and contemporary stuff. He does all this on a lot of instruments: guitar, slide guitar, frailed banjo, mountain dulcimer, autoharp, blues harp, jews harp, octave mandolin. Not flash...a solid accompaniment style driven by the song at hand, with a tight, rhythmic groove that some call 'band-in-a-box'. And his voice - that's his first instrument - it seeks out the root character of the song and celebrates it. One senses an artistic approach with a high quality hurdle. The watchword here is diversity. He's got a full array of inter-active school programs for K through college that bring to life the folk classics of America, programs for seniors recalling old musical friends, family variety for summer concerts and festivals, nights (and nights) of originals for house concerts and headline singer-songwriter gigs, spiritual programs for churches and retreats that celebrate the seeker of the divine in us, informed historical perspectives for libraries, and for all the stuff that's too edgy to fit in those places, there's the pub gig. He says, 'Gotta have an outlet for every side of you because you never know where the growth will knock next.' He also says, 'Music is theatre, and you've gotta play a lot of roles to create a life out of it.' That's been the key to becoming one of the most sought after acoustic musicians in southeast Michigan. He's headlined most of the major folk venues there, and found little need to travel when the demand from schools, libraries, historic festivals, summer concerts, Borders, etc. Has been quite fruitful. While there he was contracted by the Theatre Dept. Of the University of Michigan-Flint to write original music for John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. He also booked for a national venue, Mama's Coffeehouse. He got as far east as Rhinebeck, NY, to play official 'bard' at the OMEGA Institute for Holistic Studies. However Motor City paved over SE Michigan and put up a parking lot, so now he's cast his lot to the natural beauty of New England to harvest a new audience. He's done two indie albums, and a third live one is imminent. The second, Skeletons, produced by Michigan acoustic heavy-hitters Michael King and David Mosher, generated a blue ribbon winner (in the rock category!) in the 15th annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for the song, 'Discover What You've Got.' The golden threat that binds his work is spun of hope and compassion. These are especially evident in his originals, which are tightly composed and waste not a word. Laced with quirky humor to mocking satire to heartfelt 'gotchas', they leave one with a feeling of rooted relevance and a cathartic spirituality. He laughs, 'One of my friends calls it 'feel-good stuff with barbs so it hangs with you.'' It'll make a friend of you, too.
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