Aug. 2—ASHLAND — The Ashland Rotary met on Monday, and welcomed Izaac Daniels as a special guest speaker.
Daniels is an Ashland native who attends Morehead State University and majors in music. The talented musician said his music genre of choice is Bluegrass and Bluegrass/Gospel, and he brought several banjos with him to perform for the group. Daniels also recently performed at the Farm to Table event with his band, the Sugar Beets.
"I am a traditional music major," the 19-year-old MSU sophomore said. "And that's a rare thing to come by at colleges. We have a Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, and if you don't know what traditional music is, it's Bluegrass and Gospel."
Daniels said that he does play guitar, but his favorite instrument is the banjo, and he plays several different styles of that instrument. He thanked the Rotary for the opportunity to tell them a little about his favorite music, and of course play some of the same for them.
Before his first song, Daniels introduced his "partner," a Sullivan Vintage 35 made in Louisville by Eric Sullivan.
Daniels played the Gospel favorite "I'll Fly Away," accompanied by many in the audience.
"I was honored to play with a professional group at Morehead State," Daniels said as the applause for his rendition subsided. "They're called The Mountain Music Ambassadors, and they have the chance to play on a lot of national stages including one started by the Carter Family called 'The Carter Family Fold near Hilton, Virginia.'
"I got to play there, and I got to play on television a few times," he said. "And it's been a great opportunity for me."
Daniels second "partner" was a 1927 Gibson banjo.
"It was originally a Gibson TB 3 (tenor banjo with 4 strings), but it's been converted to an RB 3 (with 5 strings)," Daniels said. "This is a Master Tone that was created in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It has a bit of a different sound, but it's still a really good banjo."
Daniels played Foggy Mountain Breakdown for the audience with the RB 3.
"To be honest, the world needs more music with everything that's going on," Daniels said.
"It fills the gap in happiness that we all have. Everything doesn't need to be politics," he said.
"There just needs to be something we can all get along with, and something we can enjoy. And that's what I want to do with this (music); I want to bring joy to people. I'm working on it", he said. "I'm almost there, but I'm still working on it."
Daniels touted MSU's music instruction.
"Morehead has a great music program," he said. "And I have been blessed to live in a part of eastern Kentucky where I am only an hour away from it.
"I believe Ashland needs more music," he added. "We need something that everyone can just gather around with. And I think we have a great place for it. We're bringing people together, just like with the Willie Nelson concert at the Paramount, and we need more of that."