Remembrances of Gene Daniell

 About two weeks ago, we reported on the passing of Gene Daniell.

I was so proud to have known Gene, and I know that a lot of bluegrass pickers out there would say the same. Not only was he an excellent sound engineer, he was also a great musician and friend to all that knew him.

When you saw Gene’s name on a flyer for a festival, you knew the sound was going to be top notch, and you also knew that you were were going to see a smiling face as soon as you arrived. We will miss all these qualities in one of the true greats in our music.

A few of Gene’s colleagues, fellow musicians and sound engineers have offered some remembrances. First up is Andrea Roberts, former bass player with Special Consensus and owner/agent at the Andrea Roberts Agency.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend (well, everyone’s friend), Gene Daniell. I was shocked when I read that he had suddenly fallen ill and then more shocked – and greatly saddened – when I heard about his passing.

When thinking of Gene the very first thing that crosses my mind is his smile. It was endearing, kind, and was the type of smile that can only be on a face that is filled with joy on the inside.

I had the privilege of performing at festivals where Gene was running sound many, many times over the course of many years, and I was always happy to know that he would be there to make everyone sound great. I have never been very tech-savvy, and it seemed like I would always have something not working correctly with my bass rig (and that something was usually ME). Gene quite enjoyed poking fun at me!

I recall one time at a festival in Georgia getting all tore up because I couldn’t understand why my amp wasn’t working. Thankfully, as always, Gene discovered the problem…..I had not plugged the cord from the amp into my bass 🙂

Gene was a sweet spirit – one of those people that you always looked forward to seeing – and he will be greatly missed! He was a friend to me and a friend to bluegrass music.  I will continue to hold Mrs. Johnnie and Gene’s family up in prayer, and I look forward to working with Gene again when I take that Heavenly stage someday.

Rest in peace, Gene.”

Here are a few words from fellow engineer, Tom Feller…

“As a fellow sound engineer, I have always had a great respect for Gene and considered him to be among the best in the business.

In 2004, while working with Rhonda Vincent, we worked several shows that summer with Gene. As a traveling soundman, you aren’t always fortunate enough to work with people who are glad to see you. Many sound company owners and engineers look at you like you’re from Mars when you show up at the sound board to try and do your job. Gene was always very accommodating and cordial to work with.

I recall a rainy day at Graves’ Mountain when Frank and Donnie Carver and I were all visiting engineers on the same day. As I approached the soundboard, I heard Gene say ‘Your turn in the barrell, huh?’ We all had a good laugh.

He didn’t have to say it, but I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was glad to see all of us young guys show up that day to help him. Keeping equipment dry and operating smoothly is no easy task at any outdoor venue. Gene was a master at doing both year in and year out….and always had a kind word and a smile to go along with it.”

… and from another top sound man, Key Chang.

The first time I ever mixed a bluegrass show was with Gene Daniell, in 2004. I was trying out for the Lonesome River Band. Nervous and green, he saw me through it.

We’ve worked together on countless shows since then, and he was more than accommodating on every one. Gene was a great man – great at his craft – who will be sorely missed.

Share this:

About the Author

Gena Britt

Gena Britt is a multi instrumentalist/vocalist who has been in the music business for over 20 years. She is currently perfoming with the Skip Cherryholmes Quintet on banjo & vocals. Gena has been a member of several critically acclaimed award-winning bands, has traveled worldwide, and is a sought after studio musician. She now makes her home in eastern North Carolina with her two beautiful daughters, Jalyn & Dalsyn.