Legacy

Danny Gatton, A Guitar Great's Final Note

Danny Gatton, the 49-year-old genre-busting guitarist who shot himself to death Oct. 4 at his farm in Newburg, Md., will be remembered as a ''musician's musician'' whose command of the guitar was unsurpassed. Gatton released several albums of his own, recorded with Chris Isaak, and frequently worked with country star Roger Miller. His range was vast, encompassing everything from rockabilly medleys to country, blues, and ''redneck jazz.''

But Gatton, born and raised in Washington, D.C., remained virtually unknown to the public-and was ambivalent about it. ''He knew how good he was,'' says bassist John Previti, a friend of Gatton's for 20 years. ''It was hard (for him) to understand why a real guitarist didn't sell well.''

It's not known why Gatton, who was married for 26 years and had a 13-year- old daughter, killed himself. His brother, Brent, says Gatton suffered from ''a long-standing depression. This was something deep inside that was eating at him that nobody knew about. I guess no one will ever know.'' * 88 ELMIRA STREET (1991, Elektra) * CRUISIN' DEUCES (1993, Elektra) * RELENTLESS (1994, Big Mo Records).

Originally posted Oct 28, 1994 Published in issue #246 Oct 28, 1994 Order article reprints
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