Artist Profile

Daniel Donato

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Sep 5
Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country
HI-FI Annex
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There are a lot of musical influences and sources that Daniel Donato has drawn on during his career and that inform his latest album, Reflector (Retrace Music), his first all-original album. But within those, Donato has carved out a unique and individualized spot for himself, one that speaks to the deep American music heritage that inspires him — and that he’s pushing towards the future with inspired, intentional vigor. 

He calls it Cosmic Country, a moniker that’s both self-descriptive and a statement of purpose. It’s an organic rock band aesthetic with plenty of roadhouse twang; a showcase for Donato’s instrumental virtuosity and facility for melodically infectious songcraft. Bridging Nashville and the Great West, Kentucky and mid-60s northern California, tie-dye and plaid, it’s a world of his own, and a wide world of musical adventure at that. 

While growing up in Nashville his  his father, who turned his young son on to music of all genres, suggested the fledgling and industriously minded (even at just 14) artist start busking in Nashville’s lower Broadway area and outside concerts, for eight hours at a time on the weekends. One night, the two happened by Robert’s Western World where legendary honky-tonk local mainstay the Don Kelly Band were performing.  “Their songbook was that of my main influences still to this day — Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bob Wills, Marty Robbins, Bill Monroe, traditional bluegrass music, Hank Williams Sr. — old-timey music with real stories and emotions that everybody has. It just hooked me right away.” Donato eventually became a member of the band, playing four hours a night at Robert’s (464 shows in total).

Another piece of the puzzle came through later in Donato’s teenage years — the Grateful Dead, thanks to a high school American History teacher who gave him a pile of bootleg recordings when he was 18. “When I discovered Jerry Garcia, there’s really never been anyone who writes like that,” says Donato. “From there I went on to discover Bob Dylan and all the great writers and made me want to make that part of what I did as well.”

The whole package of player, singer, writer and band leader was in place. Two albums in, Daniel Donato and Cosmic Country, featuring Nathan Aronowitz (keyboards/guitars/vocals), Will McGee (bass/vocals) and Will Clark (drums, percussion/vocals) are selling out venues throughout the country and bringing their brand of Cosmic Country to an ever growing, passionate fanbase. 

Feb 9
Daniel Donato
LO-FI Lounge
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