Daniel Wood Gatton Jr. (September 4, 1945 – October 4, 1994) was an American guitarist who fused blues, rockabilly, jazz, and country to create a musical style he called “redneck jazz”. Daniel Wood Gatton Jr. was born in Washington, D.C., in 1945. The son of a rhythm guitarist, Gatton started playing at the age of nine.
From 1960–1964 he played jazz guitar with the Offbeats, then worked as a session musician in Nashville. When he returned to Washington, he drew attention in the 1970s as a member of Liz Meyer & Friends and other local bands. He recorded his debut album, American Music (1975), followed by Redneck Jazz (1978) with pedal steel guitarist Buddy Emmons appearing as a guest. He founded the band the Redneck Explosion.
Although Gatton could play most genres of music, including jazz, blues, bluegrass, and rock, he was known as a country and rockabilly guitarist. He toured with singers Roger Miller and Robert Gordon. He was sometimes called “The Telemaster” and “the world’s greatest unknown guitarist”. Guitarist Amos Garrett called him “The Humbler” for his ability to defeat other guitarists in “head-cutting” jam sessions. On this point, however, Gatton declared “The biggest humbler to me, of all time, would be Lenny Breau. He was the best I have ever seen.”
In 1987, nine years after his previous album, he released Unfinished Business, an eclectic collection of pop, rock, and country music that Guitar World magazine named the tenth best album of the 1980s. He got a contract with his first major record label and released another eclectic album, 88 Elmira Street (Elektra, 1991), which contained a cover version of the theme song from the animated TV series The Simpsons.