D.L. DUNCAN / BIO
Award-winning songwriter and guitarist D.L. Duncan’s music is planted firmly in the rich ground of today’s blues and roots landscape. His latest CD, 2015’s self-titled D.L. Duncan, has garnered critical acclaim and worldwide radio play — and earned him a bevy of new fans. Thanks to his two Gold Records for country songs and two nominations for the Blues Music Association’s Song of the Year, many music insiders have known of the songwriter “Dave” Duncan for years, but his current album announced to the world that the new D.L. Duncan is coming on strong as a performer as well.
While Duncan may have been a well-kept industry secret for a majority of music fans, he developed quite a reputation among American musicians themselves. Cases in point: Guests on the D.L. Duncan album include Sonny Landreth (slide guitar), Delbert McClinton (harmonica), David Hood (bass), The McCrary Sisters (vocals), and Kevin McKendree (piano). The album was mixed by multiple Grammy™ winner Tony Daigle. Previous guests on D.L.’s albums have included Reese Wynans on piano (from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band) and guitar giant Jack Pearson.
Guests at D.L.’s annual Benefit Concert for former bandmate Jimmy Nalls reads likes a Who’s Who of Nashville blues rockers including Delbert, Kevin McKendree, Lee Roy Parnell, T. Graham Brown, Bonnie & Bekka Bramlett, The Nighthawks, Allman Brothers alumni Jack Pearson, Johnny Neel and Chuck Leavell (who has also been the bandleader of the Rolling Stones for the last 30 years), and numerous other luminaries from the Nashville community.
As a songwriter, D.L. Duncan received Gold Records for two country-flavored songs: Lorrie Morgan’s “1-800-Use To Be” and Nashville Star winner Buddy Jewell’s “You Know How Women Are.”
Duncan’s two nominations for the Blues Music Association’s Song of the Year recognition were for songs he wrote with Soul Artist Of The Year, Curtis Salgado: the instant classic “20 Years of BB King” and the Johnny Taylor-inspired “She Didn’t Cut Me Loose.”
A native of Buffalo, NY, in 1973 Duncan moved to Arizona two weeks out of high school and, as he puts it, “was out in the desert one night and had a full cosmic revelation of the vibratory nature of The Universe through the music of Duane Allman.” He started playing the guitar the next day.
In 1979 he moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, just outside Nashville, to enroll in Middle Tennessee State University’s renowned recording program — where he made lifelong friends in the music world. Eventually D.L. settled in Nashville and started writing songs, getting the Lorrie Morgan cut almost immediately. “1-800 Use To Be” reached Gold Record status after she sang it live on the David Letterman show. His second Gold Record with Buddy Jewell came ten years later. So D.L.’s first two cuts both went Gold—and both were pop country. But D.L.’s own music took a different path: roots, rock, and blues.
In the early 1990s he became the second guitarist in the popular rock group Goose Creek Symphony and can be heard playing slide on their 1996 live album The Goose Is Loose.
In 1994 Duncan teamed up with Jimmy Nalls (Greg Allman, Dr. John, The Nighthawks) to form the band Duncan Nalls. After Nalls was sidelined with Parkinson’s disease, Duncan began his annual benefit for his friend and band mate — a show which continues to feature truly great blues guitarists and Nashville’s most soulful singers coming together to raise funds to help Brother Jimmy Nalls and his family.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, D.L. Duncan got deeper into American roots and blues, meeting up with legendary soul singer Curtis Salgado, with whom he co-wrote a number of tunes, two of which eventually received BMA nominations for Song of the Year.
In 2000 D.L. released his debut album (as Dave Duncan), I Don’t Know If It’s True, But It Happened To Me, and in 2010 he released his follow-up I’m Not Made of Stone, recorded at piano genius Kevin McKendree’s Rock House studio in Franklin, TN.
Deciding to step up his performing career and expand his touring schedule, in 2015 Duncan took the major step of changing his stage name to “D.L. Duncan,” recording a self-titled album, launching his revamped website, and undertaking a national promotional campaign for the new album.
D.L. Duncan has played with and opened for some of the biggest names in music (JJ Cale, Charlie Daniels Band, Keith Urban, Gatemouth Brown) at some of the coolest festivals and venues going (Belfast Songwriters Festival, Juke Joint Festival, MerleFest, the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, MS, Nashville’s world-famous Bluebird Café, and the FloraBama Road House in Orange Beach, AL). He continues to tour regionally and nationally and will be expanding his tour to Europe, where roots and blues also thrive.
In addition to songwriting, guitar-playing, and singing, D.L. has also begun producing recordings for other artists, both in Lafayette, LA, and Nashville, TN — including the forthcoming project from roadhouse soulman Brian Langlinais. In 2018, Duncan also opened the Music City Hemp Store in East Nashville in an effort to provide hope & healing to the community.
Whether writing new songs, playing the blues, fronting his band, or producing in the studio — going wherever the music takes him — D.L. Duncan puts his heart and soul into the journey.
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