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Dan Crary Biography

Dan Crary Biography

Dan Crary is an American bluegrass guitarist. He helped re-establish flatpicked guitar as a prominent soloing bluegrass instrument. Crary is an innovator of the flatpicking style of guitar playing. He is also a Speech communications Professor at California State University, Fullerton. Crary categorizes himself as a "Solo flatpicker" and has recorded several projects that feature him along with guests, usually other innovators of the guitar in all styles. Crary began playing guitar at the age of 12 in his hometown of Kansas city. In 1957, after graduating from high school, he attended Chicago's Moody Bible Institute to study theology. In 1960, he moved to Lawrence, to study at the University of Kansas and there he formed a trio entitled the Carltons, in which he both played guitar and sang. Five years later after graduation, he continued his studies at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary — playing locally both with groups and solo to make a living. In 1967, with a degree in hand he moved to Louisville Kentucky to continue his studies in pursuit of a doctorate of philosophy at the Southern Seminary. In Louisville, greatly interested in bluegrass music, he became friendly with various musicians, and in 1968, he became a member of Bluegrass Alliance. They soon became the house band in a local bar, known as the Red Dog Saloon.

In 1970 he released "Bluegrass Guitar" the first bluegrass album built around the acoustic guitar. After leaving Louisville that same year, Crary went to Los Angeles and did not record again until late 1975 when he Byron Berline and Sundance and recorded a Country Rock album by the same name. In 1977 he recorded "Lady's Fancy." a solo album that marked his return to Bluegrass. In the late '70s, Berline teamed up once again with Crary and five string banjoist John Hickman for a tour of Japan. That trio went on to become known as BCH. By adding John Moore and Steve Spurgin to the original BCH, the trio formed the band California which won the IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year award in 1992, 1993 and 1994. 1994's Jammed If I Do, with guests Tony Rice, Doc Watson, Norman Blake, and Beppe Gambetta, was hailed as one of the decade's great gatherings of guitarists, while 1992's solo album, Thunderation, won the National Association of Independent Record Distributors and Manufacturer's annual "Indie" award for "Best String Instrumental Album." Crary's 1997 release, Holiday Guitar, won 1998's "Indie" for "Best Seasonal Music" from the Association For Independent Music. During the 80s Crary hosted a monthly flat picking column in Frets Magazine -a column that on a regular basis was, "the #1 or sometimes the #2 most-read column in the magazine" according to some. In September 2006, Crary produced a theatrical musical history of the guitar called "Primal Twang: The Legacy of the Guitar." The production took place at the Birch North Park Theatre, in the community of North Park, San Diego, CA. Primal Twang brought numerous innovators of the Guitar together for a 4 night concert/theater event that has since been released as a DVD, including Mason Williams, Doc Watson, Albert Lee, Eric Johnson plus several others. Crary's groups, California and BCH, continue to play sporadic dates.

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