Popular Ohio/Michigan reso-guitarist and singer Danny Milhon passed away on October 28, 2023. He was 85 years of age.
During the 1960s and ’70s, Milhon recorded regularly with prominent artists like Hylo Brown, Les Moore, Raymond Fairchild, J.E. Mainer, Tater Tate, and The Laurel Mountain Boys. He played in and around Columbus, OH with Sid Campbell and Robby Robinson, and in Dayton with Red Allen and The Allen Brothers, both together and separately.
He played reso-guitar on the original Jerry Jeff Walker cut of Mr. Bojangles.
Though not so much on these recordings, Danny was also a terrific vocalist, and is well remembered for his soulful singing, especially on ballads.
Born and raised in Columbus, OH, Dan lived there until he retired from the Timken Bearing Company, and moved with his wife Charlene to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where they lived on the shores of Lake Murphy. Twenty years later they were back in Ohio, though spending winters in Florida.
Dan was drawn to music at 12 years old, starting out with ukulele and mandolin, and first discovered the dobro in 1959 at age 21. A favorite story of his was being sent to practice in the family car as his dad couldn’t take the out of tune sound of a new slide player. But he grew into one of the finest exemplars of the instrument, during its early days in bluegrass music.
In addition to the artists he recorded with above, Milhon also played with Mac Wiseman, Frank Wakefield, Dave Evans, and Benny Martin. Though he kept his day job, he was very highly regarded by the bluegrass musicians of his day as one of them, and always found people to play with, whether in and around Columbus, on the UP, or down in Florida.
According to his wishes, no service was held.
R.I.P., Danny Milhon.