Danny Knicely has a reputation amongst mandolin players as a top professional, performing in many bands of varying musical styles. As a multi-instrumentalist, Danny has won many awards for his mandolin, guitar, and fiddle expertise, including first place in the mandolin contest at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He has recorded and toured nationally and internationally with many groups. His career includes playing with Magraw Gap, Furnace Mountain, Corn Tornado, Purgatory Mountain, and a multi-cultural dance troupe called Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble.
Danny is the musical director for the Mountain Music Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving traditional musicians worldwide and plays a major roll in a feature length documentary film called “The Mountain Music Project”. The film follows two Appalachian musicians on a journey through rural Nepal and Virginia while they explore the extraordinary connections between these two mountain cultures. He has co-conducted lectures on the similarities and differences between Appalachian and Himalayan music at Columbia University, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and for Asia Network.
Danny has performed at many of the top festivals across America including Merlefest, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rockygrass, Grey Fox, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Wheatland Music Festival (Michigan), Smilefest, DelFest, and FloydFest. Other venues of note include the Smithsonian, National Geographic headquarters, The Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, The Strathmore, The Birchmere, The House of Blues in Los Angeles and The Fillmore in San Francisco.
Danny Knicely comes from a musical family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia that has been steeped in a mountain music tradition for generations. He has branched from his roots in old-time and bluegrass to explore many musical styles from Irish, Jazz and Latin, to the various types of music he encountered while performing and studying music in India, Nepal, Tibet, and China.
In addition to his unsurpassed musicianship evident on the 2013 live studio recording Kripplekrunk, his masterful playing and original compositions are best heard on his solo release “Roots and Branches”. He is also in great demand as a producer, arranger, and session musician and has participated in recording projects for many studios in and around the Washington, D.C. area including Patuxent Records, Mapleshade Records, and Cabin Studios.
His collaboration with Rex McGee extends back to when the two were teenagers camping at the Galax Fiddler’s convention, always staying up past civilized hours, often playing very uncivil versions of traditional old-time and bluegrass repertoire. Some habits take a really long time to kick.