Don grew up in Toledo, Ohio, in a neighborhood of mixed race and culture where he heard Mexican guitarists and musicians from Appalachia. Beginning on an eight dollar Kay given to him on his 13th birthday, he taught himself to play guitar emulating music from the radio and from neighborhood porches. He entered and won a national contest at age 19 sponsored at the Nashville Ryman Auditorium by the honorable Judge George D. Hayes, ‘the solemn old judge’ who was the editor of Picking and Singing News published in Nashville. He came to Columbus touring with a rock band in 1958 where he joined the Rusty Bryant Band and worked along side singer Nancy Wilson.
“That was my university where I was practically tutored by Rusty and organist Bobby Shaw. I owe them big.”
Later, he toured with saxophonist Eddie Harris and also worked with organist/arranger Bill Doggett.
“I couldn’t stay out there in the chittlin’ circuits. My family needed me at home in Columbus.”
In Columbus, Don worked for three years at the Monaco Italian Restaurant.
“Tony Monaco and I became fast friends, and I still feel almost as a family member. Tony’s a great person and awesome musician. I’m privileged to have him on the CD.”
Presently living in Columbus, Ohio, Don is busy writing music and performing engagements.