Fertile, Minnesota. Population approximately 800. My home town. I always joke that I grew up in the Beaver Cleaver household. My Dad, Daniel, is a teacher and my Mom, Bonnie is a piano teacher and teacherâ€™s aid. I have 3 brothers, all younger than myself, Brant, Christopher( we call him Cisco), and the baby, Eric. We grew up on a farm 7 miles outside of Fertile. Dad would go to work everyday and Mom stayed home with us boys. As kids, we were all heavily involved in music and sports. Wrestling was the big sport for us. You know, my parents never missed a wrestling meet, band concert, or anything that any one of us boys were in. Looking back now, I am very thankful for the effort they made to provide a wonderful home to grow up in. They did that for 25 years. Thank you Mom and Dad.
My musical vision was formed somewhere in my teens. To be honest with you, I wanted to be a rock and roll musician. That is why I started playing the guitar when I was about 13. I thought I could get a band together, write some songs, play loud, grow my hair, and BOOM!!, Iâ€™d get discovered and become famous. Thankfully, because of my parentâ€™s strong suggestions, I went to college instead. Moorhead State University. There I discovered more than I could have ever dreamed. Music so wonderful and diverse that I had no idea ever existed. So, with the help of some wonderful instructors, I studied classical, jazz, world, blues, and yes, even rock and roll. I even got to go on a tour of Spain!!!!! My world broadened.
Now, anyone who knows me will agree that I am a bit of the stubborn variety and once I get an idea in my head, I pretty much have to see that idea through. So, upon graduation from college, actually, as soon as I took my last final test, I went on the road with a rock group I helped to form called Mata Hari. It was another education for me. My parents were thrilled(NOT!). We toured from Canada to Florida to Ohio to Idaho, mostly in a 1972 GMC school bus that we converted ourselves. Eight long haired rock and roll musicians crisscrossing the country. We opened for some pretty big names, did a CD of our own called â€œFeel The Fireâ€, and in general had about as much success as a club band could expect to have. Now, besides the musical education of performing in front of an audience for 6 nights a week, there was also a certain amount of worldly education for this Minnesota farm boy. That is all I got to say about that. My parents are relieved.
Mata Hari broke up in the spring of 1993. That is when I met violinist Malcolm Watson of â€œWatson and Edgeâ€ fame. The story is actually interesting in a strange fate kind of way. Mata Hari had just finished a gig in Denver, CO and we were headed to Kansas City, MO to play our next show. We left on a Wednesday morning on I-70 headed east. Strangely enough we ran into a snowstorm about Limon, CO. The storm was so bad, they closed the interstate and were not going to open it for 2 days. We had the choice of staying in Limon or going back to Denver. Since I was dating some one in Denver at the time, I lobbied for a return and we did. Now here is the strange part. We had talked about breaking up the group in the spring, so I was casually looking for another gig. That afternoon browsing through one of the local music papers I saw an intriguing add, â€œWanted: Classical/acoustic guitarist for semi-national new age duo.â€ I was intrigued, so I called. It was Malcolm Watsonâ€™s manager and through a brief conversation I arranged an interview and audition. Well, needless to say, I got the gig and proceeded for the next 2.5 months to play in both groups. Quite a variety of music, huh? Rock one night and fly out and do classical the next. Finally, in May of â€™93, I moved to Denver, CO and spent the next 2 years performing all across the nation with Mr. Watson in â€œWatson and Companyâ€. I guess I was the company. In January of 1995, I left the duo to pursue my own musical vision as a soloist.
As of the writing of this, I have released 4 CDâ€™s of my solo guitar work. They are, â€œThe Guitar Treeâ€, â€œPeace, Earth and Guitarsâ€ , â€œAngels, Guitars, and Joyâ€, and â€œPeace, Earth and Guitars, vol.IIâ€ . Now with this compilation it makes 5. I have toured literally from Canada to Miami to New York City to San Francisco and everywhere in between. You may have seen me at a music festival, art show, shopping mall, street fair, or concert. I play them all. I believe in bringing my music directly to you. My music is being played on National Public Radio stations all over the U.S. and its territories. I still reside in Colorado and have grown my company, Colorado Creative Music, to include a record company and recording studio. The studio now encompasses 16 tracks of digital recording and nearly all of my basement. As a part of the record company, we have also released a series of CDâ€™s called Acoustitherapy. I am so proud of these CDâ€™s because they include not only my music, but music from other independent artists just like me from around the country. Give us a call and weâ€™ll tell you about it.
So much to do and so little time. I do not know what door will open next or what opportunities will come my way. But, I trust the path that is laid out for me. I thank all of you for making it possible for me to continue bringing music to people everywhere. When times get hard, the saying I always come back to is â€œOne CD at a time.â€ That is made possible by your wonderful support. If I may be so bold, I do have some favors to ask of you for the future. The first is to be in touch. I enjoy so much hearing from all the people across the country who listen to my music. I count you all as friends. Secondly, share the music with others. So much of my music has been spread by the goodwill of people like you. Lastly, call your local public radio station and ask them to play some of my music. My hope is to bring the music to an ever-widening audience. That is at least my hope for the future.
Thank you and take care.
Darren Curtis Skanson
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3. La SeÃ±orita Islas
6. Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring
8. Nunca Mas
9. In The Warmth Of The Sun
14. Lagrima Reprise