Danny Draher
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Danny Draher

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The best kept secret in music


"Danny Draher, Big Fun Tonite!"

Veteran Chicago guitarist Danny Draher's debut CD as a leader is a blues album
that sounds as good as it feels and vice versa. Draher touches on many of the
song types you'd expect from a bluesman: long, slow jams like the epic
"Don't Know Much," which features guest legends Dr. John on piano and
Bernard Purdie on drums; funkified numbers like "My Desire"; the slow,
crashing swing of "I Don't Know Why"; tasty jump blues like "Garlic & Onions"
; the rock-fortified "Disco Woman"; and arrangements that suggest
earthy, sloshy big-band swing, like "32nd & 3rd," where Chris Foreman provides
an especially brilliant Hammond organ solo and the group gives a clinic in
drawing high energy from a laid-back groove.

Recording all original songs was a good choice. Many blues artists mix covers with
originals, and too often the originals don't measure up in comparison, if only because
the well-known traditional songs are so deep in the bones of the blues audience.
Since Draher can write, play and sing well in all these blues modes I'm glad he lent
his skills to his own material.

A sideman of choice for the likes of Etta James and Allen Toussaint, and a musician
with a very long resume, Draher is a good singer who's obviously absorbed some of
the spirit of the great blues shouters: listen to "Goin' Home" for some of the best evidence.
But he makes his mark with his guitar, which speaks volumes, sometimes with few notes,
often with many, but always exactly the right amount, and each infused with human warmth.
His touch on the instrument is fluid but funky, deft but full-tilt, with plenty of tonal and
stylistic variety, drawing as he does from the whole tradition of blues- and
blues-inspired guitar, from jazz to pop, swamp to swing, Albert King to the Allman Brothers.

On most of these songs the only chordal instrument besides Draher's guitar is the
Hammond B3 organ (mostly played by the exquisite Foreman but with turns by other
excellent players as well). Drums and sometimes bass are the only other presences on
most tracks. Yet the small combos produce a wonderfully full sound because
Draher surrounds himself with musicians who play, as he does, with equal measures of
heart and skill. One of the best indicators of this is the beautifully syrupy instrumental
ballad "Love For You," which would sound perfectly at home on the dance floor at a
Long Island wedding. Listen carefully to Draher's and Foreman's solos, though, and
you'll always hear something that goes just beyond the common tropes and cliches.
In venturing their furthest from the blues, Draher and his group demonstrate best
their mastery of and love for it. At nearly 80 minutes long, this CD leaves you
wanting more, because it's just plain fun, and that's the ultimate test of a successful
(and in this case overdue) debut. - Jon Sobel, 2005/10/20 http://blogcritics.org

"Danny Draher"

Whether it is jazz or blues, Danny can do it.  He can play.
- Bob Porter, WBGO

"Danny Draher, Big Fun Tonite!"

Danny Draher has spent three decades building up a resume of musical associations in
Chicago and New York City that reads like an encyclopedia of the best in contemporary music. 
His credits as a sideman reflect a widespread reputation as an artist of talent, taste and versatility. 
  To his prodigious list of accomplishments, Danny can now add a sparkling
new CD, BIG FUN TONITE! showcases him on a program of shuffling, jazzy, funky and
slow blues vocals and instrumentals.  Not surprisingly, he’s in distinguished company
including Dr. John, drummers Bernard Purdie, Mike Clark and Greg Rockingham, bassist
Wilbur Bascomb and a trinity of “A” List organists from around the country: Chris Foreman,
Reuben Wilson and Everette DeVan.
   Equally distinguished are Danny’s own inventiveand expressive songwriting,
playing, singing, and producing which show that this showcase is as overdue as it is welcome.
With generous playing time and heart-pumping, soul-soothing and foot-tapping musical
excellence from start to finish, this CD means the listener doesn’t even have to go out in
order to have BIG FUN TONITE!
- Dick Shurman


Big Fun Tonite!, Danny Draher
Garlic 'n Onions
I Don't Know Why


Feeling a bit camera shy


Danny Draher, New York Blues & Jazz Society's Best Artist Winner- has a new CD, Big Fun Tonite! He is a guitarist, singer, musical director, consultant and producer. Born in Indianapolis, he heard the fascinating sounds of Wes Montgomery, James Brown, Ray Charles, and Elvis. He started playing piano and bass at a young age, then switched to the guitar and soon moved to Chicago. By age fourteen, Danny was performing at parties with local bands and began his professional life as a guitarist with Otis Rush and Buddy Guy at the Checkerboard Lounge. He recorded his first album with the Bob Reidy Band on Flying Fish Records at the legendary Chess Studios. He left Chicago and toured nationally with many popular,'top 40', rock, rhythm and blues bands.

He moved to New York City and soon became the guitarist, singer and bandleader of choice. Through his reputation, he and his band have been hired by the who's who of the music industry. He has recorded and toured nationally and internationally with artists such as Dr. John, Etta James, Paul Butterfield and Allen Toussaint. He was the musical director for the 1992 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards with some of the award recipients being Aretha Franklin, Bobby Bland, Sam Moore, The Staples Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas. The Danny Draher Band performed for the Radio America documentary, The Blues Story, An American Art Form, featuring B.B. King, Ruth Brown and Buddy Guy at the Whitney Museum. He and his band were also in the 1994 first annual VH-1 Awards with BonnieRaitt.

He performed with Buster Poindexter, Bo Diddley and the Uptown Horns at the Palladium for the Democratic Convention party in New York City with President Clinton on sax. Danny played many jazz and blues festivals including "The Montreaux JazzFestival" and "The North Sea Jazz Festival".

He was the producer for Cephas & Wiggin's CD, Blues Men, on Chesky Records. He also worked with producer John Snyder as a session guitarist for Polygram and Verve Records and has appeared in several recent releases, including Lucky Peterson's last two gold CD's.

This journeyman of multi-faceted talent and passion has mesmerized audiences internationally including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Madison Square Garden.Danny also appeared on Delmark Records Fifty Year Anniversary Jazz and Blues Collection CD. He has a great reputation within the industry and he is known for his style and finesse.