Meet the Band: Dan Bankhurst (guitars)
Teen Dream: Bankhurst started playing guitar when he was 11 years old. Back then, his favorite band was Metallica. "My dad has been a player ever since he was 15, and my older brother started also a few years before I did," he says. "The two of them pushed me onto the instrument, and we were playing all the time."
All That Jazz: "I'm one of these musicians who likes every single style of music, from jazz to rap to reggae and funk and soul," he says. "But I got into jazz when I was 17 or 18 and really liked George Benson and Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt." He went to Ohio State to study hospitality management and was playing jazz at Columbus clubs. He was still primarily playing electric guitar at jazz clubs. "I got so bored," he says. "I was just going to quit." He moved back to Cleveland and discovered Tommy Emmanuel, an Australian thumb-and-finger-style guitarist who's become a YouTube sensation on account of his distinctive style. Bankhurst was hooked and picked up that style of music. He recently won first place at International Home of the Legends Contest and the top prize was a $3000 Gretsch guitar.
For Pete's Sake: For his debut CD, he went to Nashville to record with Pete Huttlinger, another finger-style player, who has played Carnegie Hall. Bankhurst showed him some music, and Huttlinger liked it and said he wanted to record Bankhurst's debut at his studio that's known for its vintage gear. "It was one of the greatest experiences of my life," he says. "It's some of the best acoustic sound I've ever heard recorded."
Why You Should Hear Him: His new CD features 10 original tunes that show off his incredible guitar skills. It also includes a few covers too, most notably a new arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" for which he makes his guitar sound like a cello. "You haven't heard anyone play it like that," he says.
Where You Can Hear Him: danbankhurst.com
Where You Can See Him: Dan Bankhurst performs at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Nighttown.