Blues Artist, Guitarist and Singer/Songwriter
Where to start…
I was attending a wedding in Wenachee, Washington and happened to drop off a business card at a local music store. My friend called me to do a series of gigs; that’s how we hooked up.
Darnell is an absolute joy. We are currently working on an album project. I have shot promotional video and occasionally gig with him. The folks that he closely works with have been a great pleasure to meet.
Mackncheeze: When you were living in Australia were you playing guitar?
Darnell: I wasn’t even thinking of it. I came back in about 1997. I was down there for five or six years and came back to the States.
In Australia I fit right in; Australia and I, we got along just great. When I came back I decided this is not going to be the rest of my life. I think we all have something within us that tells us there is a better way. Certain things happen to us which help get us on track and lead us on to a different road.
I needed to seek a better way of living. Some of that came from my grandparents. They said, “You need help, Darnell, you need to get yourself together.” I started changing my direction from what I was thinking and doing.
At that time I had moved to a small town. I thought that would be a great opportunity. I didn’t have any friends in that place; there was nobody around that I knew from my old influences. This was a suitable time for me to make a fresh start; I took it.
At first I didn’t start playing. I sat in that town for an entire year being what you would call a dry drunk. I was literally having a hard time thinking. I felt like I was mentally challenged; things were happening to me, I was in a fog.
Mackncheeze: You must have been a hardcore drunk.
Darnell: I had been starting to lose jobs. I would drink so much on the weekends that I couldn’t make it to work on Monday. I did not want that to be the rest of my life.
That’s when I started making a change and again started playing. I was sitting around one day and this guy asked me, “Hey Darnell, you used to play guitar, right?”
I replied, “Yeah, a long time ago.”
“You should start getting back into it.”
I said to myself, “You know what? I haven’t got anything else to do, I might as well.”
A friend of mine at the local music store gave me a great deal on a guitar and I took it home. My playing started progressing. About a year later I enrolled in college.
I wanted to do something with my life by helping people and giving back. I was sitting in a class one day and this younger guy sitting next to me, we got to talking. He asked if I knew anybody that played guitar because he wanted to take lessons. I said, “Well, I play. I won’t charge you or anything, we’ll just kind of jam together.” He was happy with that. He had a wife and young kids so he came over to my place and we practiced.
One day he asked me if I was playing in a band? I said, “No, no.”
He said, “You’re pretty good. Do you sing?”
“No, I don’t sing.”
This went on for weeks and he kept saying, “Man, you should be playing in a band.” He asked me to sing. After he heard me he said, “You’re a little rough, but if you practice some you would be alright.” Believe it or not, that guy got me back into it and that was something I liked to do anyway.
Mackncheeze: When you took all that time off did you miss it?
Darnell: I didn’t even think about it because that was not my world; it wasn’t even on my radar.
Mackncheeze: Was that about 10 years?
Darnell: Yeah, I started playing guitar again about 2003. It came back to me pretty easily and I’m still learning even to this day. This is the year 2020 and Covid-19 has allowed me time to focus on my instrument. I’ve gotten better; I’ve invested my time into becoming a better player and learning new styles. I’m very grateful.
Mackncheeze: How did you get the airplay that you have gotten?
Darnell: I figured that I had some pretty great songs and I wanted people to hear them. I had heard about these streaming service radio stations and I wanted to see how people would respond to my music. When I had heard other stuff and compared my material, I realized I had a unique style. My sound is not average or run of the mill, by any means. It’s not an assembly line, cookie cutter sound which is the formula of most of today’s pop music; I feel it is unique and refreshing.
Mackncheeze: Here’s the big question, what do you want people to know?
Darnell: You know what, I want people to know hope and good people are still out there. The world is not as divided as some think; that would be an agenda of those trying to splinter us. A house divided cannot stand. There’s a lot more good going on than bad. These are things that I want people to know.
I’ve seen it personally, and, I would say, don’t let anybody pull you apart or push hate, division, anger or anguish into your heart. That’s them; let them go on their path and you go on a path that is right to you. We’re still united, we are still great; things come and things go, but love is forever. That’s what I want people to know.
Mackncheeze: Great interview, Thank You, Darnell
Can we help you in any way?