Danny Knicely

Multi-instrumentalist and dancer
Taylorstown, Virginia

Photo: Pat Jarrett

Photo: Pat Jarrett

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley has long been fertile ground for the development of old-time and bluegrass music, and the Knicelys are one of the region’s most prominent musical families. Multi-instrumentalist A. O. Knicely was a staple at area barn dances in the 1930s; his son Glen soaked up this music as a child and, along with his wife, Darlena, passed on the tradition to his son, Danny.

One of the most respected and versatile multi-instrumentalists of his generation, Danny has won many awards for his mandolin, guitar, and fiddle playing—including first place in the mandolin contest at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival—as well as his flatfoot dancing. He has collaborated with prominent musicians in the United States and abroad, including Vassar Clements, Tim O’Brien, Wyatt Rice, Cedric Watson, Mark Schatz, and many others. He has also recorded and toured nationally and internationally with many groups, including the award-winning Magraw Gap, Furnace Mountain, and Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, a multicultural dance troupe.

Danny is also the musical director for the Mountain Music Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving traditional musicians worldwide. A musician’s musician, he has a chameleon-like ability to fit into any musical situation.

For his 2019 performance at the Richmond Folk Festival, Danny takes the stage with autoharp legend Bryan Bowers and will also demonstrate some of his buck dancing moves in the “Bend, Buck, and Break: Dance Moves from Virginia” showcase.