Danny Rader is a multi-instrumentalist musician who plays keyboards, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, a kitchen sink, and anything else that he can make interesting noises with. Danny is currently on tour with country star Keith Urban, but has also shared a stage with other notable artists such as Jason Aldean, Leann Rimes, Gretchen Wilson, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Big Kenny, and John Rich, to name a few. In addition to touring, Danny loves studio work. Some of the artists he’s recorded with include Trace Adkins, Big & Rich, Bomshel, Tyler Dickerson, Josh Gracin, Jessica Harp, Jewel, The Lost Trailers, Josh Thompson, Bill Anderson, Marty Stuart, and Gretchen Wilson. Recently, Korg had an opportunity to catch up with Danny.
KORG: How did you begin your journey as a musician?
Danny Rader: My family has actually been vocational musicians for three or four generations now, so I don't remember NOT being around it. In 1978 my granddad, Wayne Rader, moved the entire family down to Panama City and opened the Ocean Opry Show. It was there that I had the opportunity to not only play close to 200 shows a year with the family, but also to meet (and watch shows from backstage) with artists such as Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, plus a "who's who" list of Grand Ole Opry artists. We had hundreds of artists in through the years. It was a priceless education.
KORG: Very cool. Are you still able to participate in the Ocean Opry, with the other projects you have going on?
DR: My granddad has retired from running the show full-time, but once or twice a year, we'll all get together and do a show at another venue down there, in Panama City, FL. It's a real treat to get to go back home and share that experience with them…takes me back to where it all began for me!
KORG: You’ve been busy playing with Keith Urban…any recent performances or stories from the road that might stick out in your mind?
DR: Yeah, we did a gig out down in Dallas last Superbowl weekend. After our gig, we scored tickets to the game down on the 45 yard line about 10 or 15 rows from the field, and that was definitely a career highlight for me. It was one of those days when you look at where playing music has brought you and you think, "Wow, this is my job!" The only thing that could've made that day better is if the Titans would've been playing.
KORG: What’s next on the horizon for you?
DR: Well, we're starting the tour in a couple weeks, so that's first on the horizon. Outside of that, I'm producing some stuff with a couple of really talented guys who are on the cusp of getting signed here in Nashville. They’re working on finishing up some vocals and overdubs on them now. Hopefully, you'll be seeing big things from them pretty soon.
KORG: Let's talk keys - what drew you to the SV1?
DR: First and foremost, the sounds. It's just the meat and potatoes stuff that I need in my main board. Secondly, the interface! Up until recently, I've been known in Nashville as a guitar player, primarily. And my brain works very much like a guitar players'. Scrolling through banks of thousands sounds makes my head hurt! I just need great sounds there at the touch of a button.
KORG: Any favorite features? What would you say separates it from other keys/stage pianos out there?
DR: I love the radio button presets! It’s super easy to change settings and store on the fly. When my son was about 15 months old, I was letting him mess around on it, and while I wasn't looking, he changed all of the presets to a string sample, canceling my presets for Keith's show. Maybe there's some marketing in that - "So easy, a baby can program it!"
KORG: Anything else you'd like us to mention?
DR: Just come out to some shows this summer! Get Closer 2011 World Tour.
KORG: A general quote about Korg?
DR: It doesn't get any better than this! Period.