Outside of a venue in Chattanooga, Tennessee, musician with the New 76ers and local artist Danny Goddard found himself in deep conversation with a peddler. The man was seated on the stoop outside the bar with his dog and guitar trying to earn spare change while Goddard picked his brain. He’s willing to learn something about music from anyone and everyone — his lifelong quest is to find what connects humans emotionally to music.
The answer is still a mystery to Goddard, whether he’s playing a show for 2,000 people or 20. While the crowd dictates the energy of any given performance, he finds himself onstage transcending the mechanics of playing an instrument and falling into a trance. When Goddard does notice the audience, he’s amazed to see such a dynamic range of emotions from weeping to hugging, hanging from the rafters or dancing up a storm.
“I see people engaged in a way that I never see anywhere else,” said Goddard, who reveres music’s power and those who wield it. “Anyone that will teach you music, whether it’s a whole sonata on the cello or a lick on a banjo, is an amazing person as far as I’m concerned.”
For Goddard, his musical journey began when his grandmother encouraged him to join concert band in sixth grade where he played in the percussion section. In his childhood home in Fort Myers, Goddard’s father encouraged his passion and devoted a room to various instruments and a full drum set.
When band practices weren’t being held, Goddard would play alongside favorite tracks like Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” His cassette deck was stacked with Beastie Boys, Led Zeppelin, and the Footloose Soundtrack.
Goddard listens to a range of styles from bluegrass to classical and consequently has picked up a number of instruments: glockenspiel, electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, mandolin, banjo, trumpet, harmonica, keyboard, tambourine, and more. He performed with jazz, marching, and rock bands throughout high school, until he eventually earned a solo gig that prompted him to pursue music full time. He attributes this fluidity between genres to mastering basic music theory.
“Instruments are just tools to engage the magic of music,” said Goddard. “I was in a band once where I played eight different instruments every night. Itdoesn’t matter to me what’s in my hands because you can pick up any instrument once you understand the basic mechanics.”
Goddard described himself as a lifelong learner and polymath with a persistent curiosity. He earned three college degrees, two from Florida State University in Geology where he teaches as a professor. He enjoys watching students grasp concepts about the earth and want to make the world better once understanding more about the planet.
When it comes to making music, Goddard shares a similar excitement and sentiment. The piano is where he accomplishes the majority of his songwriting and he has had melodies picked up by television shows like A& E’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” Onstage with family trio, the New 76ers, for the past 11 years, he writes, plays guitar, and sings, and is always intrigued with how his compositions come to life.
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