Daniel Norton to Hammertowne

Hammertowne has announced the addition of a sixth member, reso-guitarist Daniel Norton.

Daniel lives in Erwin in east Tennessee, about as far east as you can get, just along the North Carolina border. He grew up playing banjo with his family’s bluegrass gospel group, and picked up the other instruments along the way, but left the band once he married his sweetheart, Sandy – who he calls ‘babe’ – when they were 17. A recent convert to the resophonic guitar, he is happy to be joining up with Hammertowne.

Chasten Carroll, mandolinist with the group, explained a bit of the thinking about bringing Norton in to the fold.

“We have been talking about adding another piece to the band for a little while now, but with the understanding that it would have to be the ‘perfect fit,’ not only musically, but on a personal level as well. Daniel checks every box. From the first conversation I had with Daniel I knew that he was ‘our kind of people,’ and would fit in perfectly with the guys.

So we scheduled a ‘rehearsal’ – at least that what we called it. Daniel came down, and through the first chorus and break of The Roof Is Coming Down, we were all sold. I remember looking over at Dale and saying, ‘Man that’s it!’

Daniel is one of the best dobro players in bluegrass, and in a very short period of time. The dude has been playing for a year. Saying all of that to say this… We’re super excited to have Daniel come on board, and let you guys hear just what he brings to our sound. We’ve got a great touring schedule for the summer and fall, and can’t wait to get to picking.”

Daniel likewise explained how he found his passion for the reso-guitar, and how he hooked up with Hammertowne.

“I’ve messed around with dobro a little bit through the years, but I never could strike more than a few licks on it. But around last March, I picked it up to record a session, and ended up getting ‘The Reso Bug’.’ On a serious note, I couldn’t seem to lay it down, I drove ‘babe’ crazy, then I found a group out of western North Carolina called Middle Cross that I’ve played quit of few shows with. I quickly progressed on reso with those guys, but when I got my Jerry Pitt reso, I played for hundreds of hours because I loved the sound and playability so much.

After a long but very fun trip to SPBGMA, where there weren’t not many jams I wasn’t in, the next thing I know I’m getting a call from Chaston Carroll saying, ‘man we like your style, and we’d like to get together to pick and see if we mesh well together.’ We met up in Irvine, KY, and I can say two things: HammerTowne is my kinda grass, and WOW! I’m honored to be picking along side of, in my opinion, the top dogs in real driving bluegrass music today, and some of the best people around.”

Look to the Hammertowne Facebook page for information about their shows this year.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.