In early 1957 in a wet and somewhat fishy smelling part of Seattle known as Ballard, Don was just a spark in his Daddys eye but later when he was born and smacked on his butt he started screaming what sounded like "Great Balls of Fire". His father knew what he had to do (buy some ear plugs!). As soon as Don could reach the keys on the family piano, his parents would set him on the bench and let him "bang away for hours" to "keep him out of trouble". While sitting at the piano he would make up songs then play them over and over for anyone who would listen (mostly the family pets). Don recalls as a child falling asleep as his mother would be downstairs singing her version of the "Oscar Meyer Weiner Song" while playing the family organ til the wee hours of the morning.
In 4th grade Don decided to take drum lessons in school and then for some reason he then decided that The Stan Boreson School of Accordion was his true calling. (http://www.stanboreson.com/history.htm ) As the years, earplugs and instruments came and went and because his father took him to see Chet Atkins as his first concert, at 12 years old, Don decided that he should learn it as well. He had found his instrument at last! His father still recalls how "I showed him the G chord and then he just took off bending the strings."
For some deep, dark and unknown reason Don also liked the sound of the banjo and started playing it in the church orchestra where he found most people thought he should stick with the guitar. Don says "I still remember the pastor and the "Tone it down!!" look he would give me when I started to play a little too wild."
In the 1970's, Don took as many music classes as he could in Jr. and Sr. high and while playing at parties, with his musician friends, Don got his first taste of what would become a driving force in his life. He continued to write and study music playing in a number of bands. When Don turned 19 a band he had played with called and asked him if he would like to come play in the clubs in Hawaii. He quickly bought a one-way ticket and was off to "Paradise". When he got there he found all the members of the band were living in one small studio apartment and owed 6 months back rent. So after 5 long months playing in the bars and flipping burgers Don finally had saved enough money to buy a ticket back home to Seattle.
Back in his home town once again, Don started going to the open mics and bluegrass jams and in the mid 1980's Don was asked to join an original bluegrass band called "Lost in the mail" and so started his adventure as a bluegrass musician. As time went on Don met an electric fiddle player (Chris Shacklett) and they decided to do some jamming with Rod Backman on stand up bass. The resulting formation called "DW and the Sliders" was a blend of rock-a-billy, swing, jazz and bluegrass and was well liked by the college students at Seattles University District coffee houses and at the open mics around town. With the addition of Buzz Rogowski on keyboards "Direct Access" was formed. During this time Don was also producing background music for videos by award winning producer Gray Warriner and Camera One Productions.
Don was offered a paying position with Mark Holt's bluegrass band touring touring Canada and the Pacific Northwest and opening shows for Ricky Skaggs, Jim and Jesse and others. While touring with Mark, Don won the "Best Guitarist Award" at the Kamloops Bluegrass & Country Music Festival (in Canada). In the early 1990's, Don and Mark Holt co-wrote a comedy song they called "The Cowboy Rap" a 'tounge in cheek' song about a hired hand on a cattle drive who liked to rap. The song made it to #27 on the "Panel Report" (a publication out of Nashville) for the morning 'drive time' radio plays nation wide.
Don was then asked to Join the "Island Cowboys" a Samoan country band based out of Seattle. They toured all over the Pacific Northwest doing shows in some of the biggest Country Bars in the Pacific NW from Jerry Andels Ranch in Seattle to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole. In the mid 90's Don was asked by Guy Hunt a great steel and guitar player (who performed with Merle Haggard among others and many times on the Comedy TV show HeeHaw) to do a tour playing guitar with Country Music Hall of Fame Star Hank Thompson.
After the Tour was over Don moved to Alaska in the winter of 1995 and began to play the local bars in Anchorage. Don is now playing 250+ gigs a year and loves Alaska. He produced a Radio show called "Swing-n-Things" which was broadcast on KNIK (The Breeze). Don has performed with Ken Peltier and Mike Olsen and opened for John Michael Montgomery. He performs shows 5 nights a week at the Best Western Golden Lion Hotel in Anchorage Alaska.