Sept. 8, 2016 For Immediate Release Contact: Walnut Valley Association firstname.lastname@example.org
“Mr. Winfield” – Dan Crary makes his 35th Appearance at the Walnut Valley Festival
Winfield, Kansas… When Dan Crary played the first year at Winfield in 1972, he was billed as “Deacon” Dan Crary. To honor Dan for his 20th straight appearance in 1991, one of Dan’s fans, June Trumble, gave him a new title. She considered Dan, one of her favorite entertainers, to be “Mr. Winfield.” We agreed back in 1991 and this year will mark the 35th year Dan has appeared at the Walnut Valley Festival, and Dan is still “Mr. Winfield” as far as the producers of the Walnut Valley festival are concerned.
With 2016 being the 45th year for not only the Walnut Valley Festival, but also the 45th National Flat-Picking Championships it is only right to include Crary. Dan is a premier traditional guitarist, recognized nationally and internationally as one of the founders of the “flatpicking” style. A Kansas native, Dan’s professional career began in 1960 during the folk music revival and continued as he founded and led The Bluegrass Alliance, a history making band which established lead guitar as a standard part of bluegrass music. During a recording career of many years, Dan has produced numerous projects that began in the days of vinyl and continue with current digital albums. The music of Dan Crary has been included in several motion pictures and television soundtracks.
In addition to his recordings, Dan’s personal appearances and workshops all over North America and in Europe, Britain, Ireland, Japan, Australia and the South Pacific have led to his acclaim as one of the all-time great steel-string guitar players.
Dan has appeared at Winfield both as a solo and as part of different groups over the span of 35 years. In 1974 he joined Byron Berline and John Hickman as a member of Sundance. Their MCA release of the album “Byron Berline and Sundance” was the start of the long time musical association of Berline, Crary and Hickman which was simply called BCH by their fans. Since Steve Spurgin and John Moore joined BCH, the name was changed to California. This year we are presenting Dan Crary as Dan Crary, Bill Evans & Steve Spurgin who will be joined on the weekend by Martin Stevens.
Few people know or appreciate the full role Dan has played in the Walnut Valley Festival from its beginnings. Aside from the initial counsel given the fledgling on contests, flatpicking and other festivals in general. Dan has continued to actively support the festival over the years with advice on changes in rules, recommendations of outstanding groups that he saw on tour and called to suggest that they be considered for Winfield, and at one time, playing an instrumental role in the actual continuation of the festival itself. To those of you who vividly remember the “Flood of 85” Dan was able to put that year in perspective by citing a phenomenal Saturday night Stage 1 set as a high water mark. With a sense of humor, a vision of the festival, and by being able to communicate that vision, Dan has always given that much needed encouragement at the right time.
Throughout the years Dan has taken the Walnut Valley Stages with numerous configuration of music groups besides this year’s group, the previously mentioned BCH and California there have been Dan Crary, Lonnie Hoppers, and their American Band, Dan Crary & Thunderation and the group of super pickers aptly named Men of Steel made up of Dan joined by Tony McManus, Don Ross and longtime Crary performing buddy Beppe Gambetta, named for their talent with the steel string guitar.
Dan has continued to tour, teach and produce music projects. One project that reflects a lifetime of immersion in the guitar was the 2006 stage premiere in San Diego of “Primal Twang: The Legacy of the Guitar”- the first definitive theatrical journey through the guitar’s colorful and surprisingly controversial 3500-year history. The story of the "instrument of the gods" was told through a combination of onstage narration, video projections of rare historical footage, and electrifying live performances by world music legend, Dan Crary and an all-star ensemble of international guitar greats. Musicians include Grammy Award winners Eric Johnson, Albert Lee, Doc Watson, Mason Williams ("Classical Gas"), and Andrew York (Los Angeles Guitar Quartet), as well as Richard Watson, harp-guitarists John Doan and Beppe Gambetta, Brazilian jazz master Peter Sprague, and Grand Old Opry star Doyle Dykes. The program debuted to enthusiastic sold-out audiences at the lavishly renovated, palatial Birch North Park Theatre.
Primal Twang was the brainchild of Dan Crary and writer/producer/director Anthony Leigh Adams. The duo wrote a script that begins with the guitar’s ancient ancestors and covers not only the wildly eclectic forms of music played throughout the centuries on variants of the steel-string, nylon-string, and electric guitar, but also the sociological impact the guitar has had in every era. Primal Twang reveals compelling stories and music from the guitar’s past, present, and future. Dan and the seven-piece band perform everything from ancient modal music to classical, flamenco, and the Chet Atkins school, and from the guitar-based vocal pop of the early 20th Century through the jazz, folk, and rock eras, right up to today. The performances were recorded and have been edited into a full length DVD that is available for anyone that would like to learn more about the guitar and its influence in our world. It has been said that viewing “Primal Twang” should be a requirement for anyone that has played or has the desire to play a guitar. A special performance is scheduled on Saturday evening at this edition of the Walnut Valley Festival to Celebrate 45 years of Flat Picking at Winfield that will include honored veterans of the style former New Grass Revival member Pat Flynn, and international favorite Beppe Gambetta, a younger generation guitar wizard and 9 time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year and Grammy award winner Bryan Sutton and last but certainly not least, host of this special occasion, Dan Crary. You are invited to join Dan and his friends as they create more special memories from the Walnut Valley Festival. Dan has said ”Music is learned by being part of a community.” Our community of Walnut Valley owes Dan a vote of Thanks! . . . . .