Danny Davis Kicked Some Country Music Brass
A lot of musical instruments come to mind when you hear the words 'Country Music'.
Steel guitar might be first, followed by a good fiddle, a little banjo, and of course a pretty acoustic guitar. But a great brass section? Ah...not so much.
Trumpets and trombones may not be the foundation for a great country song. Horns aren't the first thing you think of when talking about real country music. But that doesn't mean they don't hold a warm place in the history of the music we love.
Danny Davis had recorded and released music since the 1950s, but it was 1969 when many people first came to know this Dorchester, Massachusetts native. In the mid-1960's the legendary Chet Atkins 'brought' Danny to Nashville, and in fact, Danny Davis produced some of the 1960's Waylon Jennings albums and singles (which, in all honesty, didn't work all that well for Waylon or Danny). It was when Danny and Chet decided that combing Brass with country music would be a good idea that things, well...started to take off.
While Danny had been told that country music fans 'don't like horns', he found out differently. For several years Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass dominated the CMA Best Instrumental Group category and in fact, received a dozen Grammy nominations. And Danny was instrumental (pardon the pun) in moving country music across the oceans and around the world.
It was in the late 1970s that I had the opportunity to meet and interview Danny Davis. He and the Nashville Brass were playing at the Brown County Fair in Aberdeen, and Danny was staying at the local Holiday Inn. I knocked on the door and there he was, casually dressed and relaxing before the show that night. He was one of the nicest 'famous' people I have ever met to this day, and what I remember most was he had a great voice! I was thinking, 'Wow, this guy could be a great singer' and yet he was known for those great instrumental songs with the Brass. It would be years later that I found out Danny had sung on many of those early 1950's songs, long before Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass.
So whatever happened to Danny Davis?
Well, Danny retired in 2005 at the age of 80 (two performances that earned standing ovations) and passed away three years later from a heart attack.
Oh, and Danny Davis didn't always just perform and record with the Nashville Brass. So who would he release an album with? Well, Willie of course! In fact, it was with Willie that Danny Davis had his only Top 20 hit with 1980's 'Night Life'.